More than a year after a first, unsuccessful attempt to get federal recognition for the Colt Gateway project, its backers got what they were looking for today: designation as a national historic landmark. "We got it," said Rebekah MacFarlane, an official at Colt Gateway, LLC. "We're a landmark." Well, not yet -- the project still needs a couple administrative approvals before Wednesday's decision by the National Historic Landmarks Committee takes effect. But this was the most important step, according to Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who was part of the parade of local, state and federal officials backing the project in Washington, D.C. "It's a long time coming, and it assures us that we're on the right path," Perez said in a phone call after the decision. "It's a great thing for the neighborhood." Perez said the commission's approval was unanimous. The Colt Gateway project has grown into a $180 million plan to turn the old Colt firearms factory with its blue onion dome, just west of I-91, into apartments and commercial space. As part of its development process, the project sought recognition as a national historic landmark and has been working with the National Park Service to that end. Wednesday's decision was a welcomed advance for a project that has, on the ground, stalled. Money troubles halted work back in May. Last month, one of the project's lenders -- USA Capital -- threatened foreclosure on some of the complex's buildings. Developer Robert A. MacFarlane said the threatened foreclosure was a negotiating tactic. Colt officials have since said that a deal to take USA Capital out of the project is imminent. As of Wednesday, though, there was no formal agreement. Colt officials say it could come Friday. In October 2006, the effort to get landmark status stalled when federal officials denied the request, saying the conversion of factory space into apartments wouldn't preserve the "integrity" of the building. Weight had been given the strenuous objections from James L. Griffin -- an advocate for a museum dedicated to Samuel Colt's legacy in the Colt facility, an idea that MacFarlane had rejected. Two months later, the project got a reprieve from the National Park Service. And Wednesday, almost a year later, the landmark status was approved. Rebekah MacFarlane, said that the landmark status "could possibly bring money" into the project, but financial considerations weren't what brought her company to push for the recognition. "It's more about marketability," she said. "You get the signs from the highway. It's an honor, a distinction, and it's really the stepping stone to becoming a national historic park."