CHILLED BEEF

The Lake­wood plan would have cre­ated a home for a tran­sit-cen­tered project.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By John Aguilar

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.”

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