COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It was only a few years ago that a consultant told a Colorado Springs developer that building a new hotel wasn't a good investment.
That's no longer the case.
Buoyed by a growing economy, increasing tourism and a successful housing market, hotel builders have renewed confidence in Colorado Springs.
Experts say hotel construction hasn't been as good in the city since before the start of the new millennium.
Leading the way in this wave of new hotels is the Great Wolf Lodge, which opened two weeks ago near Interstate 25 and Interquest Parkway.
The lodge has more than 300 rooms and an indoor water park that has customers lining up to visit.
Just starting construction is the Fillmore Inn, a two-hotel complex near I-25 and Fillmore Street. When finished, it will provide 100 rooms.
Workers expect to break ground this month on a Hilton hotel at the downtown corner of Bijou Street and Cascade Avenue.
Four other projects are proposed or planned. One is near the Great Wolf Lodge, two are near the North Powers Boulevard business corridor and one is just south of downtown.
Developers for those projects plan to offer between 80 and 165 beds, and a variety of amenities.
"I'd rather have a hotel than a motel," Hadassah Frazier, a Colorado Springs resident, said. "I think it'll improve tourism."
Experts said Colorado Springs still lags behind Denver and other Front Range cities in average occupancy rates and average room costs.
However, they said Colorado Springs is making steady progress with an occupancy rate of nearly 60 percent and a room rate of just under $100.