A downtown Denver hotel that has housed the homeless since shortly after the pandemic began will see them move in April.
The Denver City Council on Monday approved a final contract extension with the owner of the Aloft Denver Downtown hotel at 800 15th St., a block from the Colorado Convention Center.
Since May 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic set in, the city has leased all 140 rooms of the six-story hotel. It has used the rooms — and those in other hotels the city leased — to house homeless people seen as high-risk due to age or a medical condition, providing an alternative to traditional shelters where the individuals would be in closer contact with others.
But at the Aloft, that era will come to an end three years after it started.
Lisa Lumley, Denver’s director of real estate, told a city council committee last month that all the hotel’s occupants will move out in April. The city’s lease on the building will run for an additional three months beyond that, until the end of July, to allow for repairs.
The arrangement wasn’t without detractors. Last May, two years into the contract, a handful of residents from the neighboring Spire condo building and the Upper Downtown Neighborhood Association asked the city to end the arrangement, saying the occupants were creating a safety issue. But the council voted to extend the contract weeks later.
The hotel opened in 2014 and is owned by JBK Hotels LLC. Aloft is one of numerous brands operated by Maryland-based Marriott. In recent months, the Aloft signage on the building has been covered by banners that read “Be Kind.”
With the final contract extension, the city will have paid $16.24 million to lease the entire hotel from May 11, 2020, to July 31, 2023, according to city documents. That works out to about $13,500 per day — $95 per room per day for the majority of the contract, bumping up to $100 a day for the final months.
That’s only part of the total cost of the arrangement. The city has also been paying JBK Hotels to supply residents with three meals a day at a cost of $25 per room per day, which will end up costing a total of $3.76 million by the time meals end in April, according to city documents.
The city has also been spending about $33,000 per month for on-site security. Additionally, there have been separate contracts with RPM Roth Property Maintenance to provide cleaning services, and with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Salvation Army to manage the program and provide support services to residents.
The council passed the final contract extension unanimously without discussion Tuesday night, part of a block vote on it and other measures.
While the city is set to vacate Aloft, it and other homeless service providers are increasingly interested in hotels.
The city is close to finalizing a deal to buy the former Stay Inn at 12033 E. 38th Ave. In December, the Coalition for the Homeless paid $24 million for the onetime Clarion Hotel Denver Central at 200 W. Warner Place in Globeville, records show. A year before that, the coalition bought the onetime La Quinta Inn at 3500 Park Avenue West for $11 million.
Correction: The contract start date has been corrected.