Government & Politics  April 15, 2022

Proposed Ranch hotel, conference center draws no interest

LOVELAND — A request for proposals to build a hotel and conference center as part of the expansion of the Larimer County Ranch Events Complex in east Loveland was met with no interest.

The RFP, published Feb. 24 and closed to submissions April 7, generated no proposals. The county is now trying to figure out why.

“We’re investigating,” said senior operations manager Mark Tinklenberg. “We still want to do the project,” he said, but the county is not sure why potential developers of the hotel and conference venue took no interest. The Ranch is adjacent to the Embassy Suites hotel and conference center.

Voters approved an expansion of the Ranch complex in 2017. Between then and 2020, the county sought input from stakeholders and worked on plans to phase expansion of the popular complex that now includes the Budweiser Events Center where the Colorado Eagles play, the Larimer County Fairgrounds, and multiple buildings used during the fair and all year long for business and personal events. Tax revenue from the sales and use tax that voters approved began to be collected in January 2020. 

Planners have submitted the Ranch’s Planned Unit Development plan to the city of Loveland and received approval from the City Council. The Ranch, although county-owned, sits within the city of Loveland.

So far, the only project underway is the relocation of Arena Circle, the primary roadway through the complex. It will be moved from near the buildings in the center to the edge of the complex. 

Tinklenberg said that “as of today” roadway work is underway, although not directly on Arena Circle. Roads connecting to Arena Circle are under construction.

Next steps for the expansion of the Ranch include determining why the hotel project failed to generate interest, while at the same time moving forward with other elements of the facility’s five-year plan. 

Tinklenberg said other elements of the plan include a 4-H youth arena, extension of some buildings, construction of RV camping spots, and expansion of the maintenance facility. Those are expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Bids for those will be solicited soon, he said.

Initial discussion about the Ranch expansion included the potential construction of a new events center that would replace the functionality of the Budweiser Events Center, and then the repurposing of the Budweiser Center. Tinklenberg said that is not in the five-year plan.

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