State could pony up $250M for new stock show complex

Photo: Stock Show 8 Rodeo wide
Announcers watch as the Mexican Rodeo begins at the National Western Stock Show on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.

The state of Colorado could contribute $250 million toward new a National Western Complex in Denver under a bipartisan bill highlighted by state legislators Monday.

The bill would allow the state to raise up to $250 million through lease-purchase agreements to fund new Colorado State University buildings at the National Western site near Interstate 70 north of downtown. Proposed are a equine sports medicine clinic, a veterinary clinic, classrooms, laboratories, and more. 

Lease-purchase agreements are similar to traditional government bonds, but don't require voter approval under TABOR. CSU would not be liable under the plan.

The complex is best known for hosting the National Western Stock Show every winter for the last 109 years. The Western Stock Show Association has been advocating for new facilities since the early 2000s.

“We are in a failing business model with decaying buildings that necessitates a site transformation to sustain and grow the National Western for the next 100 years," said Paul Andrews, president and CEO of the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. "Recent studies show the redeveloped site will drive economic impact and taxes of nearly $200 million per year and host more than 300 events per year."

A plan floated earlier this year put the overall cost for the project at $856 million. Funding would come from a mix of private and public sources, city officials say.

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