LAKEWOOD - The City of Lakewood decided to postpone voting on a deal with the federal government that could eventually lead to the biggest land development since the Belmar mall.
The 11 city council members decided to postpone any decision until March 28, 2016. Some of the members will not be around for that vote after the November election.
The goal for the Federal Center Station Neighborhood project is to eventually build new homes, offices and smaller scale retail stores.
The land is on the northwest corner of the Federal Center property near 6th and Union.
If the project is approved in March, the federal government will turn over 59 acres to the city. The property wouldn't be sold to private developers for at least another two to three years.
In order to get the property, Lakewood will have to hire a contractor to design and build a new FDA and USGS laboratory to replace the old one at the Federal Center. That could cost a little more than $24 million.
The money for the building would come from Capital Improvement and General Funds.
More than 200 residents filled the council chambers to have their voices hear about the plan Tuesday night.
"I think this project is so important to the community, that it's worthy of extending the conversation and extending the opportunity for public input beyond tonight, said Bob Murphy, Lakewood mayor.
"If it's that important, let the voters decide," said Steve Block, a Lakewood resident against the project.
"There was simply not enough information from which to make a good decision. We had asked for the appraisal documents, we had asked for more detail about the bridge that was part of the deal and just could not get enough information," said Barbara Franks, a Lakewood resident running for council.
The crowd clapped when they heard there would be no vote Tuesday.
(© 2015 KUSA)