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Construction Remains Stalled on John Q. Hammons' 300-room
 Renaissance Hotel on Colorado Springs' North Side

By Rich Laden, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 24, 2010 --Construction remains stalled on the 300-room Renaissance Hotel on Colorado Springs' far north side, nearly three months after Missouri developer John Q. Hammons said he had obtained financing to finish the project.

Rising 11 stories and located just east of the Air Force Academy, the hotel has become a prominent site along Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway. But after its exterior was completed, work was halted last fall and windows and doors were boarded up.

The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department hasn't inspected the project since Oct. 20, according to agency records.

With more than six months gone by and no work having been done, Regional Building now considers the project inactive, although building officials are prepared to work with the developer to ramp up construction once it's set to resume, Jim Peppers, the department's chief building inspector, said Friday.

But it's not known when that might be.

In late April, Hammons, the 91-year-old, Springfield, Mo., developer who's built more than 200 hotels since 1958, told The Gazette he had acquired a $70 million loan to complete the hotel after spending $47 million of his own money. After finalizing the loan, he said, he would resume construction a few weeks later and open by early 2011.

By several accounts, work never resumed. Now a Hammons assistant said the developer doesn't take calls and referred questions to other company officials. Neither they, nor a local marketing official, returned calls.

Nor'wood Development Group, the developer of the 135-acre InterQuest Marketplace retail center where the hotel is being built, doesn't know its status, said Fred Veitch, a Nor'wood vice president.

Also, several mechanic's liens have been filed against the hotel, including a $24.6 million lien by general contractor Flintco Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., according to El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office records. Liens are legal claims brought by contractors and subcontractors who haven't been paid or who question a payment; they're common in the construction industry.

A Denver attorney representing Flintco didn't return a call Friday.

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Contact the writer at 636-0228

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To see more of The Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.gazette.com.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

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