The Lakewood plan would have created a home for a transit-centered project.
Aherd of Texas Longhorn from Searle Ranch in Monument leads the annual National Western Stock Show parade as it makes its way up 17th Avenue in downtown Denver on Thursday. Along with the cattle were horseback riders, cowboys and cowgirls, the Westernaires and antique tractors. The parade was led by Grand Marshal Rich Karlis, a former Denver Broncos placekicker. The stock show opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 24.
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
A proposed land deal between Lakewood and the federal government that held out the tantalizing hope of creating a home for a transit-centered development on 59 acres along the W light-rail line has fizzled out.
In a letter sent this week to Lakewood City Manager Kathy Hodgson, Public Buildings Service regional commissioner Timothy Horne said the U.S. General Services Administration would launch a “competitive procurement” process for the parcel next month.
“It is important for GSA to move forward to address the critical facility needs of our tenants on the (Denver Federal Center),” he wrote.
Hodgson informed council members in a letter made public Thursday that the federal government had “terminated negotiations with the city” because Lakewood would be unable to meet a Jan. 22 deadline to act on the proposed agreement.
In late October, the outgoing City Council voted to put off a decision on the deal until March 28 so more public input could be gathered.
Hodgson said she was surprised by the feds’ imposition of the January deadline, which she was not made aware of until mid-November.
Mayor Adam Paul said that although the federal government’s newly instated deadline was impossible for the city to meet, he conceded that the council didn’t warn federal officials in October that it would be pushing a decision on the deal out nearly half a year.
“We kind of threw that out, and they didn’t feel like they could wait that long,” Paul said.
Sally Mayberry, public affairs officer for the GSA Rocky Mountain Region, on Thursday said her agency imposed the Jan. 22 deadline because its tenants have “critical facility needs” at the Denver Federal Center.
She noted that negotiations with Lakewood over the property have been ongoing for two years.
“GSA plans to start a competitive procurement for the exchange project, starting with the issuance of a request for qualifications,” Mayberry said.
The unusual deal had called for Lakewood to build a $25.2 million lab at the Denver Federal Center and, in exchange, receive the 59acre parcel that the federal government owns at the southeast corner of Union Boulevard and U.S. 6.
The city then would be able to sell off pieces of the property to developers with the intention they be built out as part of a cohesive vision for the future Denver Federal Center Station neighborhood,
complete with residential, retail and office space along a critical transportation spine between Denver and its western suburbs.
The exchange wasn’t without its detractors. Many residents were concerned about the financing details of the deal and about environmental remediation at the site, which was at one time home to the Denver Ordnance Plant.
Hodgson said she is not certain what role, if any, Lakewood will play with the property now that the federal government has pulled the plug on the lab-forland deal.
But she said it remains a priority for the city to see it developed wisely.
“At the end of the day, this is still an important piece of property in the city of Lakewood,” she said. “That matters to the city, regardless of ownership.”