DENVER -- Filling the seats in Mile High Stadium should not be a problem for the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, but fans looking for parking spaces may find it trickier.
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, which runs the stadium property, agreed to sell 2.9 acres of Lot M to the Colorado Department of Transportation for a new headquarters building.
Lot M will lose 367 parking spaces later this season. The entire lot is about 10 acres in size near 14th Avenue and Federal Boulevard.
"They have committed to the Broncos that they will not start construction before November 1st," said Craig Umbaugh, the stadium district's attorney.
The stadium district board approved the $5,999,999 sale to CDOT at a special meeting Thursday, which happened to be the first for new board member, Chauncey Billups.
The stadium's naming rights were not on the agenda, nor discussed.
"It is a catalyst to the Sun Valley property, and the Mayor and the City of Denver has made this a high priority," said board chairman Ray Baker.
The reduction of parking later this season, follows the 200 spots eliminated with the construction of Mile High Monument, the one-eighth sized replica of old Mile High Stadium in Lot J.
Parking in Lot M, where the CDOT headquarters will be built, will remain normal through the Oct. 30 home game against the San Diego Chargers. After that, the Broncos have two road games and a bye before their next home game on Nov. 27 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Once the CDOT headquarters is complete, it will have a nearly 500-spot parking structure.
"As we've discussed, we hope they'll accelerate the parking (structure)," said Baker.
Denver7 asked if the board would require CDOT to build the parking first.
"We didn't put that requirement because we don't want to drive CDOT's cost up," said Baker.
Denver7 then asked CDOT if it has budget problems, how does it have money for a new building.
"We have, obviously, significant needs in the transportation system here in Colorado, and at the same time, we also use some of that budget to maintain up to 1,500 facilities around the state, so that we can provide transportation services," said CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford. "Most of our buildings were built in the 30s and the 40s and the 50s and we have to maintain them."
The headquarters building near Colorado Boulevard and Arkansas Avenue was originally supposed to be a Denver Public School. CDOT said the boiler needs to be replaced, asbestos issues exist and other unsafe working conditions in that building and the facility it owns near Holly Street and Evans Avenue.
"This is not an extravagance on the part of the state," said Ford.
CDOT said the cost of maintaining both of those buildings is about $23 million, which is the value of those two buildings. CDOT also plans to use the funding to replace facilities in Greeley and Pueblo.
"The cost of maintaining them and getting them up to current standards is actually about $4 million over the next 20 years, a year," said Ford. "For us to go in and build a new building, it's going to be about $8 million a year, but at the end of this, we have an asset also that is of much more value."
CDOT sets aside millions of dollars dedicated to maintain its buildings, which Ford said is a different pot of money than road maintenance.
"We'll look to be spending about $4 million a year, over what we'd have to do to bring these buildings up to code, to the benefit of better working environments, safer environments and more attractive working environments in regards to recruiting and retaining our employees," said Ford.
"Does any of that $4 million more per year mean a road project doesn't happen or a road project happens less than it would have?" asked Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger.
"No, actually it doesn't. That $4 million a year more is actually already part of our construction program," said Ford.
She said CDOT would be bonding to pay for the new construction.
"At the end of this, actually, to the positive, you're going to have assets that are worth, over 20 years, about $65 million more than the assets we currently own," said Ford.
Once the locations have moved to the new headquarters, CDOT will sell the Colorado Blvd. and Arkansas Ave. and Holly and Evans locations, which could generate new property tax revenue for the state.