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City Hall estimate tops $18 million

Wed., July 25, 2007

The City Council got its first look at a crucial dollar figure in Spokane Valley’s quest for a city center at its meeting Tuesday.

A rough calculation places the cost to build a City Hall at $18.4 million.

“It’s pretty tough at this point, being four or five years out,” to come up with a price, said Public Works Director Neil Kersten.

He drew up the estimate based on the cost to build the new CenterPlace community center, adjusted for growing construction costs, but noted that the price of land and other factors could change the total.

The city is in the process of hiring a firm to study the Spokane Valley’s future space needs and come up with a more specific prediction early next year.

“We don’t build a city hall but once, usually, in 50 years,” Mayor Diana Wilhite said earlier this week.

Spokane Valley currently rents most of the first floor of the Redwood building from Northwest Christian Schools.

At present, city offices use between 22,000 and 25,000 square feet, Wilhite said. But it’s likely that the Spokane Valley will construct a City Hall with more space than it needs now to accommodate the city’s growth.

Tuesday’s estimate was based on a 60,000-square-foot building on land worth $10 per square foot.

As far as maintaining a larger, city-owned building, Wilhite said “if we’re able to lease out part of the building, I think we should be able to manage that within our current budget.”

The proposed 2008 budget sets aside $7 million for a civic building. The council has yet to decide how the municipality will borrow, levy or otherwise acquire the rest of the construction funds.

The City Hall is part of an extensive redevelopment plan for Sprague Avenue that would include a mixed-use city center with public buildings.

Next spring the Spokane County Library District is expected to ask voters for $30 million to replace the Spokane Valley Library with a larger facility in the city center. The money also would fund a new branch library in Greenacres and an expansion at the Argonne branch.

At this point, it’s unclear what additional money Spokane Valley would need to raise in order to secure land near the University City Mall for the city center and fund public improvements to it.

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