DENVER-The City of Denver, which already owns the Rocky Mountain News building at 100 Gene Amole Way, is considering buying land west of it for the proposed new jail, which would be part of a larger Justice Center. Mayor John Hickenlooper earlier in the year hired an Urban Land Institute panel to look at the feasibility of building a justice center on the Rocky Mountain news site, which was purchased under the Mayor Wellington Webb administration.

The ULI panel not only liked the idea, but said the site should be larger, and needs to be on the land to the west. That site includes an auto repair garage, parking lot, restaurant, and US Postal Service facility.

The city likely will hold a referendum in May for citizen approval of a tax hike to pay for the new facility. But the city council’s safety committee already approved a plan to look at buying the additional land. The entire city council must approve the measure go forward with the purchase.

Some council members wondered if it is a mistake to tie up non-refundable funds to option the land, in case the deal doesn’t go through. But others, such as council member Rick Garcia, say it is worth the risk. The amount the city would pay for the land has not been disclosed.

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