Building a new city hall, police station and public works facility in Tigard will save the City significant money in the long run, according to a feasibility study released in January.
A City plan to demolish the current public works building at Southwest Burnham Street and Hall Boulevard and build a new city hall and police station on that property is currently being considered by the City Council. As presented at the Council’ s Jan. 19 meeting, it calls for the existing city hall campus to be demolished and the property sold off for residential redevelopment. Staff research concluded that leaving the City’s current aging facilities in place and maintaining them in usable condition would cost nearly $33 million more than tearing it all down and starting from scratch.
The ambitious “City Facilities Consolidation Project” would cost an estimated $252 million. But City officials think they can do it without raising property tax rates. The larger point, they say, is that remaining with the status quo is nearly unthinkable in light of potential cost to the City of repairing and maintaining aging and inadequate facilities.
“Most urgently, we are trying to address existing and projected failures of the city’s downtown facilities,” City Economic Development Director Kenny Asher told Councilors at their Jan. 19 meeting. “We are nowhere near to keeping up with costs now.”
Asher estimated the cost of continually improving existing buildings and leasing space to accommodate future staff over the next 20 years would be around $180 million.
Where the savings come from, however, is the sale of the City’s current campus property along Southwest Hall Boulevard and the property taxes that would come with it. This is valued at well over $13 million.
The City then estimates that new buildings would retain a value of over $90 million after 20 years of use. This provides a final tally of roughly $148 million in cost liability.
The need to act swiftly, the City says, also comes from rising construction costs, which are growing by an average of seven percent each year in the Portland metro area.
Crucially, the plan requires the current public works facility to be replaced with a new facility away from city hall. Several potential properties have been identified, and the City now is working with Capacity Commercial Group to choose a final site in the next few months.
“The success of the CFC really depends on public works finding a site,” said Public Works Director Brian Rager. “And we need to be acquiring that site probably this summer.”
The new city hall and police facility would likely be a four-story, 100,000 square foot building, with around half the space dedicated to police functions. A three-story parking garage with an additional level of secure police parking below ground would also be built.
Finally, the Jim Griffith Memorial Skate Park would also likely be relocated from its current space over to the new city hall campus.
Mayor Jason Snider said that trying to sell such a large project to Tigard residents needs to be done without the specter of a property tax increase attached.
“But as I think about what this project could do to solve problems and improve our downtown, this could be the most transformational project that happens in our community in our lifetimes,” Snider said. “I think we should recognize that and think about it that way.”
City staff are now trying to identify a usable site for a new public works facility, undertake engineering studies for the proposed city hall and work to finalize a project cost. A robust community engagement plan will also begin to try and inform Tigard residents about the project.
“I think we can get this done,” Asher said.