Denver city government may sublease the 11th floor of the Denver Post building after all.
In a tied vote on Jan. 6, Denver City Council failed to approve the Hancock administration’s nearly $9.9 million sublease agreement that would have secured more than 25,000 square feet of office space on the building’s top floor.
Tonight, the resolution is back before Council.
The agreement is intended to ensure city government has expansion space and swing space to accommodate workers while the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building undergoes renovations. Several council members, including Deborah Ortega and Candi CdeBaca, have expressed concerns that the city is underutilizing the space it currently has.
“I think we need to look at the real estate we have … and be more methodical about how we are leasing space,” Ortega said in January before voting against the proposal. “I’ve asked for a comprehensive real estate plan and have gotten piecemeal. It’s critical for us to have clarity of understanding in knowing where we’re going with additional leases.”
In addition to Councilwomen Ortega and CdeBaca, council members Amanda Sawyer, Kevin Flynn, Chris Hinds and Amanda Sandoval also voted in opposition of the contract. Councilors Chris Herndon, Jolon Clark, Kendra Black, Stacie Gilmore, Paul Kashmann and Robin Kniech voted to push it forward. (Councilwoman Jamie Torres was absent.)
According to Stacy Simonet, a spokeswoman for City Council, the Hancock administration “did more outreach and explained the need for the space.” As a result, Black direct filed the proposal so that “it can be considered without going through the committee process again.”
In other business, City Council also will introduce a bill that would allow pit bulls in Denver. The measure would put in place a breed-restricted license that pit bull owners would have to obtain to come into compliance with the revised city ordinance.
Leading the proposal is Councilman Chris Herndon, who has called the change “long overdue.”
Supporters of the measure, including several veterinary and animal welfare organizations, say that the current legislation unfairly punishes dogs for their lineage instead of their personal history. But opponents say that breed-specific legislation increases public safety, decreases pit bull breeding and the number of strays who are flowing into and being euthanized at shelters.
Councilman Kevin Flynn called for a courtesy public hearing before final reading of the full council, which will likely happen later this month.
Bills for final consideration on Monday night include a bill for an ordinance changing the zoning classification of a property in Sunnyside from a rowhouse to an urban, mixed-use building, as well as a bill for an ordinance to rezone properties near Denver International Airport. The properties would be changed from an urban center and multi-unit property to suburban mixed-use properties.
Another bill for final consideration would replace all city charter references of Denver Public Works with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The new transportation department was established after more than 73% of Denver residents in November voted in favor of creating the agency that will elevate the role of walking, biking and transit in the city.
The new department is led by Eulois Cleckley, who formerly headed Denver Public Works. Cleckley said in November that the department’s focus is to “ensure all the work we’re doing has an equity lens,” and that the people, the assets and the areas in the city that need the most help receive the most attention.