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DENVER-Today, the 37-story, 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Hotel at 14th and California streets opens its doors. It has more rooms under one roof than any hotel in the city.

In 2003, the nonprofit Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority, which owns the hotel, issued more than $367.5 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds for the facility. But it actually cost about $285 million to build, Bill Mosher, CEO of the authority, tells GlobeSt.com. The bond offering, carrying a 30-year amortization and 4.6% interest rate, includes $89 million in reserves, insurance, points and fees, he explains.

The hotel is considered a national model on how to finance such deals because it’s not a debt against the city nor does it provide any charge against its credit, Mosher says. The authority has no taxing power.

Although the hotel is only opening today, it already has more than $100 million in group room revenues booked through 2012, says John Schafer, Hyatt Regency’s general manager. That is the most bookings for any Hyatt pre-opening, he says.

Often, large conventions book hotels five, six or seven–sometimes even 10 to 12 years– in advance, Schafer says. The hotel, however, booked a number of large conventions for 2006, some that were slated to go to New Orleans, but were canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he says.

Schafer says a number of companies are looking at Denver for the first time. In the past, Denver did not have a large enough convention center until the existing one was doubled in size or ones nearby, like the Adam’s Mark with 1,200 rooms in two buildings, weren’t able to accommodate them.

Schafer says he recently gave a tour to Microsoft executives. “They didn’t book any space, but it’s just good to get on their radar screen,” he says.

The Louisville, CO-based Storage Technology Inc. has booked the first convention in the new facility. Although locally based, the old hotel wasn’t large enough to accommodate StorageTek, Schafer notes.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. will operate the hotel. The program manager, the equivalent of the developer, is Faulkner USA, based in Austin, TX. The architect is Klipp/Brennan Beer Groman Joint Venture and the general contracting team is a joint venture of three Colorado companies, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., JA Walker Co. and Alvarado Construction Inc.

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