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Developers Balks at Hotel Plans for Pueblo Ballpark

Pioneer League

A local hotel developer is opposing plans to build new hotels around a Pueblo, CO ballpark that, if constructed, would host a rookie-level Pioneer League team. 

A Pioneer League team could be in play for Pueblo, if local officials decide to move forward with the construction of a new ballpark. Debate over the funding of the proposed downtown ballpark continues, but if constructed it would host the Pioneer League team along with other events.

Development would be expected to take place in the area surrounding the ballpark, including three new hotels that would result in a combined 300 rooms. While this has been identified as a way to bring private development into the area, AAA Hotel Development president Avik Amin is expressing criticisms over the hotel component of the project. His contention is that the proposed lodging properties would receive the benefits from public investments in the ballpark and a proposed youth sports complex, and that the Pioneer League’s short-season schedule is not enough to boost the local hotel business. More from The Pueblo Chieftain:

“It has been stated that the addition of the 300 hotel rooms will be funded privately by the developer. This is factually incorrect based on the business plan that has been presented. … The primary generator of business for these three new hotels will be the youth sports complex that is built at Runyon Field,” the company said.

“… The tournaments that will be brought to town because of the youth sports complex will be managed directly by the owner of the three newly developed hotels. Therefore, the base majority of the benefits and business that these tournaments will bring will go to the three newly built hotels. The rest of existing hotels in Pueblo will not accrue any of these benefits.”

Meanwhile, the company noted that the Major League Baseball rookie league team the developer is promising plays a short season of 38 home games a summer. “What would sustain all of these additional hotels during the rest of the year?” the company said.

Pueblo County government, the leading proponent of the stadium proposal, has declined to publicly identify the developer or the rookie league team that would relocate to Pueblo as part of the deal.

The proposed ballpark remains in the discussion phase, with Pueblo County and the City of Pueblo trying to pin down funding plans for the facility. A new proposal pitched by two county commissioners earlier this week calls for the issuance of taxable certificates of participation, to be backed by tax increment financing. The county would take on all of the debt risk, though the city’s involvement is still needed for this concept to move forward. It is expected that the city council will discuss the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday.

RELATED STORIES: New Pueblo Ballpark Funding Plan PitchedStudy Backs Pueblo for MiLB Team, BallparkPueblo Ballpark Being DebatedPueblo Passes on MiLB in Downtown Development PlanPueblo County Pitches New Pro Ballpark

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