Frontier Airlines' struggles; Qwest's sale. General Electric and Arrow Electronics make plans for Colorado. As Niobrara oil fever builds, so does the debate over fracking. Ikea opens; banks close.
#11 Bank shutdowns - Six Colorado banks failed in 2011 -- a sign of the challenges faced by local banks and other financial institutions through the economic downturn.
#10 Arrow Electronics moves its headquarters to Colorado - On Oct. 11, Colorado became the global headquarters of Arrow Electronics Inc. It's now the largest company in terms of revenue ever to be based in the state.
#9 Colorado wins GE Solar plant - Aurora will be the site of a new General Electric Co. manufacturing plant for thin-film solar-power panels, the nation's largest. Colorado beat out several other states to win the factory.
#8 The reshaping of Denver Union Station - Denver Union Station has been the city's rail depot for generations - and efforts are underway to transform it into a modern transportation hub serving travelers and commuters on trains, light-rail cars and buses. The interior will be remade as well.
#7 The Niobrara oil boom - Promising oil finds in the Niobrara Formation of Colorado and southern Wyoming have caused a gusher of excitement in the energy industry, with some dreaming of a possible oil boom in the region.
#6 The stock show and Gaylord project - This pair of interrelated stories involves plans for a mammoth hotel development by Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment Co. near Denver International Airport -- and a proposal, that now appears dead, to relocate Denver's venerable National Western Stock Show to the site.
#5 Tom Martino's bankruptcy - Tom Martino, a Denver media personality and self-styled consumer "Troubleshooter," has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
#4 The debate over fracking - Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" -- a practice widely used in the energy-rich West to extract natural gas from deep underground -- has triggered controversy between the oil and gas industry and environmentalists.
#3 Ikea comes to Colorado - After nearly three years of planning and construction, Colorado's first Ikea store, a 415,000-square-foot complex in Centennial, opened July 27.
#2 CenturyLink buys Qwest - Qwest Communications International Inc., Denver's highest-profile locally based company, completed its merger with Monroe, La.-based telecom CenturyLink Inc. on April 1. And on Dec. 9, Qwest's former headquarters tower was sold.
#1 The turbulent flight of Frontier Airlines - The saga of Denver's home-grown airline took many twists and turns in 2011, more than a year after Republic Airways Holdings bought it out of bankruptcy in October 2009.
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