Denver officials are embarking on a federally mandated study of the 16th Street Mall as part of the effort to revitalize the pedestrian and transit retail corridor that runs through downtown Denver.

The City of Denver's Department of Community Planning and Development, the Downtown Denver Partnership and Regional Transportation District Wednesday began the first phase of an environmental study mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. The study must be completed because the original development effort on the mall in the 1980s was completed with federal funding.

NEPA requires that officials must identify and consider social and environmental impacts when reviewing potential alternatives for the mall's future, according to a media release from the city. The analysis is expected to take until the end of 2017, at which point new plans for the redevelopment of the mall will be more clear.

Douglas County-based engineering firm CH2M will lead the study process along with Denver-based RNL Design.

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