Hancock Pushes For Development At 9th, Colorado

Mayor Says Site Cannot Remain Vacant

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged members of the City Council to approve a plan to develop the site of the former University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Thursday.

In a letter, Hancock said the site "has remained empty and blighted for nine years and it is now in the best interest of the neighborhoods and the city to facilitate viable retail development for this area."

Developer Jeff Fuqua has said he intends to place a Walmart on the 28-acre site at 9th Street and Colorado Boulevard. The plan is not without controversy.

Opponents have organized an aggressive campaign in the community to oppose a store. They cite common complaints against Walmart that the company pays low wages, and its low prices hurt small, local businesses.

The Colorado Boulevard Healthcare District, an organization of neighborhood associations, hospitals and Denver City Council members formed when the University of Colorado moved from the 8th and Colorado Boulevard, has scheduled a public meeting to talk about proposals on Sept. 6.

Hancock did not mention Walmart specifically in his letter but said developing the site could bring in $180 million in direct economic investments and employ 900 people.

"To risk the loss of a dedicated developer and allow the site to remain vacant and deteriorate further would be counterproductive to the city’s efforts to drive sustainable economic development in Denver," Hancock said. "Although the city cannot distinguish or discriminate among different retailers, so long as the retailers abide by set regulations and guidelines, my administration will continue working hard to ensure thoughtful development with long-term rewards."

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