Nashville-based Ryman Hospitality Properties bought the remaining controlling interest in its Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center property near Denver International Airport, according to a Q1 earnings report.
“(Monday) the Company announced an agreement to acquire the remaining 35% ownership interest in the Gaylord Rockies joint venture along with approximately 130 acres of undeveloped, adjacent land for approximately $210 million,” the report states. The deal is expected to close before month's end.
Ryman, owner of the Grand Ole Opry, was part of development group that included Houston-based RIDA Development Corp. The Gaylord Rockies is operated by Marriott International.
“Despite having just one full year of results prior to COVID-19, we believe Gaylord Rockies is positioned to be a strong contributor to our future performance, and we are thrilled to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity,” said Colin Reed, Chairman and CEO in a statement.
The 1,501-room resort – the state’s largest – was completed by the joint venture, which included Houston-based RIDA Development Corp., in 2018. It was widely reported to have more than 1 million rooms reserved with events for years to come. It sports more than 486,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. The COVID-19 pandemic shut it down, then limited its capacity – as it did all hotels in 2020.
“The United States vaccine rollout continues to progress, and we believe consumer confidence is growing," Reed said in the earnings statement. "We are seeing increasing demand for our unique offerings, our conversations with meeting planners continue to be encouraging, and we are seeing fewer cancellations and continued rebooking activity.”
The project created controversy and numerous court cases for the estimated $381.4 million developers got from the City of Aurora and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The City of Aurora lost a court case that eliminated somewhere between $80 million and $121 million in incentives for the project. But millions remain for RIDA and Rydman, including both city and state tax incentives.
Ryman is a real estate investment trust (REIT) (NYSE: RHP) that invests in upscale convention center resorts and has a growing entertainment segment, and owns brands like Ryman Auditorium and country lifestyle media network Ole Red and Circle.