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DENVER-City voters approved a ballot measure to build a $378-million justice center, consisting of 800,000 sf, on the Rocky Mountain News building site. The center, which faced grassroots opposition, garnered 56% of the vote. A total of 23% of the registered voters participated in the election.

Earlier, an Urban Land Institute commission hired by the city recommended the center be built on the site. The $378-million development is believed to be the largest single construction project pursued by the city, outside of building Denver International Airport.

Early next year, construction will begin on the first phase–a 600-car parking garage along West 14th Avenue. It will include a US Postal Service office building. The 1,500-bed jail will be housed in a 508,000-sf building. The complex also will include a six-story, 320,000-sf criminal courthouse with 35 courtrooms.

Construction on the jail and courthouse will begin in late 2007 or early 2008, with a completion date in 2009. Plans also call for renovating and constructing a 384-bed facility at a current county jail on Smith Road. Several of the old buildings along Smith Road will be demolished.

The Rocky Mountain News will be moving into a new building, which will cost a maximum of $88 million, by Labor Day 2006 at Broadway and Colfax. The Denver Post and the Denver Newspaper Agency also will occupy that building.

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