10/21/2014

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Union Gap leaders mulling moving City Hall to new location

Union Gap leaders mulling moving City Hall to new location
UNION GAP, Wash. -- There's a new chapter in the Union Gap City Hall saga. KIMA learned the city has another option.

It involves an empty building near the Ahtanum Business Park. KIMA learned how much it could cost.

You might have driven past it, but never been inside it. It's currently for sale, and Union Gap is interested.

"A couple of the council people approached me and asked if they could take a tour of the building," said commercial broker Daniel Tilley.

Tilley is representing the owner. He says the building was once intended as a federal immigration detention center. Now, he's got a sales pitch for Union Gap's city council.

"It'll serve the public and safety better than to be where they're located."

Union Gap's been without its permanent City Hall building since mold fears shut it down two years ago. Tilley says this building could hold city operations and the police department. Using the front half for police would give the department almost three times the space it has now.

Tilley says the shell is worth about $1.6 million.

"As you see, there's no pavement, no parking, all that stuff," said Union Gap Council Member Mark Carney. "That has to all be figured in."

The price is less than the $2.5 million architects estimate it would cost to tear down and replace the existing building.

Union Gap could lease the building, but that could cost almost $400,000 a year. Carney says that just kicks the can down the road.

KIMA asked him, "Would it make sense then just to remodel the existing building?"

"Well, I think financially, I think, is what will determine whether we remodel or rebuild," said Carney. "I mean, yeah, there's some on the council that have this emotional draw to a new toy kind of thing - the new toy mentality, as we would put it, you know. But there's nothing wrong with fixing what's already there."

There is no shortage of options. What's still missing is a decision.

Council Member Carney says discussions involving the building are only preliminary. More details on what a finished building could cost will be needed before any decision.
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