Feds selling Federal Center property in Lakewood as lawsuit looms

The auction of the public land began less than two weeks after the feds rejected a controversial plan to build hundreds of supportive housing units near Federal Center Station for people experiencing homelessness.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Federal Center Station surplus property area 1, Lakewood, Jan. 24, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  real estate; lakewood; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

Federal Center Station surplus property area 1, Lakewood, Jan. 24, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The federal government has once again opened bidding on 59 valuable acres in Lakewood.

The auction of the public land began less than two weeks after the feds rejected a controversial plan to build hundreds of supportive housing units near Federal Center Station for people experiencing homelessness.

Bidding started at $6 million. No one had put in an offer as of April 2, according to a government auction website.

About 15 acres of the site include contaminated soil covered by a soil cap. Development there will be regulated by the state health department.

The land is “one of the last remaining large vacant land parcels in the city of Lakewood,” according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless sued to stop an earlier auction of the site, arguing that federal law says it should be offered up for homelessness services first. They won, but the Department of Health and Human Services rejected the nonprofit’s financial plan.

The auction closes July 17.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit has asked for a review and says it will sue to get fair consideration of its proposal.

If it gets its way, the federal McKinney-Vento act would allow Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to rent the land, free of charge, for 20 years. After that, the property deed itself would be transferred to CCH, with the nonprofit only paying administrative costs.

“We have yet to hear from HHS regarding our request for reconsideration and we consider GSA’s auction premature in light of that appeal,” wrote Cathy Alderman, a vice president for the nonprofit.

“It is looking more and more likely that we will have to return to the U.S. District Court to have HHS’s actions reviewed for what we believe to be an abuse of discretion. HHS should not be permitted to apply a different standard of review to our application than they have to other McKinney Vento applications and in this case, that is what appears to have happened.”

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