PORTSMOUTH — It is not yet clear where the proposed redevelopment of the McIntyre Federal Building will go next after residents packed City Hall Monday, most to express displeasure with the project.

Mayor Jack Blalock credited Monday night’s “very impressive turnout,” but declined to say if the project needed substantial changes to win the council’s support.

“As you know it’s still a work in progress to get to the stage where we can apply to the National Park Service,” Blalock said Tuesday. “I think the plan is moving along. We should take into consideration everything said last night, both pro and con.”

At one point during Monday’s meeting, resident Adam Irish told the council if there were a citywide vote on the project “you all know, each and every one of you knows, that this project will be voted down.” His comment was followed by loud applause from the crowd that filled council chambers.

Asked if he disagreed with Irish, Blalock said, “I really don’t have a comment on that. That’s hard to say.”

He noted the redevelopment plan proposed by the city’s private development partners Redgate/Kane still has to be reviewed by city land use-boards. Blalock is hopeful the boards “will carve it into something that’s going to please as many people as possible.”

He declined to say if he would vote to approve the plan as it exists now.

The council has not determined when it will next discuss the proposal to redevelop the 2.1-acre property near Portsmouth’s popular waterfront.

Monday’s turnout was driven in part by a community group led by developer Michael Simchik and a small group of business people pushing for a dramatically less dense redevelopment. The group, called RevisitMcintyre.com believes the proposed financial deal the developers have offered to the city is a “terrible deal.”

City Councilor Rick Becksted praised the people who filled council chambers. “I love when Portsmouth residents come out in large numbers, it gets everyone’s attention,” Becksted said.

He agreed most people who attended Monday’s meeting either objected to the redevelopment plan, or the developer’s proposed financial plan.

“I think it just goes to show that one or two people’s ideas of something isn’t necessarily reflective of what most people in the city want,” Becksted said. “There needs to be some serious consideration about rethinking the project.”

Becksted said he was the only city councilor who voted against picking a single development team in January 2017.

“Now we have limitations," he said. "I would have liked to see the public forums so we could have multiple developers and multiple choices."

He believes most people “want to see a change in the design.” He doesn’t believe the council can move forward or vote to approve or reject the redevelopment until “we hear what the rest of our boards are going to say about the project.”

The message he got from residents Monday is “this is an election year and (the council) needs to start listening to the residents.”

Assistant Mayor Cliff Lazenby said he was “mindful of the public input the council received," but he stressed he has “a tremendous respect for a thorough and rigorous public input process that we did.”

“I feel like that process spoke volumes and I think the proposal does a good job of addressing most of the priorities in most of the public input we received,” Lazenby said Tuesday.

He believes the choice the council made – and Lazenby recused himself from the vote because his company was one of the three teams bidding for the project – “was a tradeoff that matches what the people of Portsmouth want.”

Lazenby agreed it is unclear where the council will go from here, but said he believes there will be a work session in the near future to give councilors “more time to dig into the financial plan.”

The city has been trying for years to gain control of the federal property from the General Services Administration, which owns it. During the past year, the city has worked to acquire the property for free through the Historic Monument Program, which National Park Service administers. But as a condition of getting the property for free, the development team must preserve the McIntyre building.

Redgate/Kane’s proposal includes using the McIntyre for office space, while building a 4½-story mixed-use building and two 3½-story mixed-use buildings on the property. The plan includes several hardscaped open spaces, or what Steve Perdue, vice president of Redgate, calls “public realm spaces.” It also includes proposals for an indoor community gathering space, small kiosks, an art area and a possible market, developers have said.

Resident Patricia Bagley seemed to summarize many if not most of the concerns raised about the proposed developed during her comments at Monday night’s public hearing. “The McIntyre proposal offers too much massing, too much hardscape, too little green space and too little parking,” she said.

She noted the developers propose only 77 parking spaces for the 77 apartments.

“No parking will be provided for employees and patrons of the brewery, fitness center, food markets, restaurants, café, 10-plus retail spaces available of various sizes, a community space and the plaza,” Bagley said in reference to some of the features developers may include in the project.

“Unless we’re offering parachutes to people, I don’t know how we expect them to get there,” she said. “And how is this acceptable city planning? It isn’t.”

She noted residents turned out “because this project impacts the quality of life we all share as residents.”

“The future of this 2-acre parcel is now, but it will impact generations to come,” Bagley said.

After Monday’s public meeting, city councilors offered some comments about the project.

Councilor Chris Dwyer said she doesn’t “think most of these folks that were here tonight from their questions or comments really have had an opportunity” to learn about the details of the proposed development. "We need to do another presentation of those pieces."

Councilor Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka suggested the presentation could be done “outside of a council session.” “I think we have much more complicated things we’re also working on,” she said.

She suggested she might not be able to vote “on the next part of the application until a lot more things are settled.”

Councilor Ned Raynolds pointed to RevisitMcIntyre.com’s rendering it shared about their proposed redevelopment. He said it “reminded me of the before and after pictures used to sell exercise regimes or weight loss drugs.”

“One was an extremely flattering colorful, sort of fanciful rendering and the other, the capsule version of the actual proposal, was rather drab and certainly incomplete,” he said.