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Legislature Receives Report on Tioga Street Property

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Legislature Receives Report on Tioga Street Property

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Legislature received a full report on the County’s examination of properties located on the 400 block of North Tioga Street in Ithaca, as county government looks at whether the adjoining parcels, located at 408, and 412-414 North Tioga, might be acquired to enable the County meet its office space and parking needs.  The Legislature late last year authorized the County to enter into a four-month purchase option on the property, which expires later this month.  The issue now before the Legislature is whether to exercise the County’s option to acquire the property. 

County Administrator Jason Molino’s more than hour-long presentation on the County’s ongoing feasibility study analysis, conducted with the assistance of HOLT Architects, was an updated and in-depth version of briefings delivered twice before to the Legislature’s Facilities and Infrastructure Committee.  The feasibility study’s primary goal is to review the current and future needs of individual departments and consolidate a number of County offices into a single location to maximize efficiencies and remove or reduce lease payments. 

Potential scenarios evaluated in the Study have increased to ten, which now include two primary office clustering options.  The first would consolidate multiple County offices scattered across downtown into a new three-story building on North Tioga (37,000 s.f.), with the planned substantial renovation of the Old Jail building to retain existing offices.  The second would consolidate into the new building those scattered downtown offices and would also relocate to the building offices currently located in the Old Jail—increasing building size to 46,000 s.f. and essentially returning to the Center of Government concept evaluated seven years ago.  In addition, the design scenarios set out various options to expand parking options (an additional 25-42 spaces), and several include residential redevelopment options (one to five units of affordable housing) along Sears Street.

Total project cost (with design to LEED Silver standards) is projected at $18.55 million to $19.55 million, which includes new building development cost of $12.8 to 14.5 million, land acquisition cost, and cost of related renovation to other buildings.  Project financing would include sale of Sears Street land and the Annex C Building, the 2019 budget appropriation for the Old Jail renovation, and fund balance from the Capital Fund and General Fund.  Needed bonding of approximately $9 million would be supported by the County’s annual capital contribution.

Administrator Molino concludes that the North Tioga/Sears Street parcels can easily support a new building of sufficient size to meeting the County’s needs, that the project has additional parking and/or residential development options, and that the County can financially support the project as part of its capital plan.

The Legislature’s Facilities and Infrastructure, and Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committees will review the project in joint session April 10th, with the Legislature scheduled to consider a purchase resolution April 16th.