Four developers want to build or revamp buildings for a new Lexington city hall, according to city documents.
The developers who responded to the city’s request for proposals include two local developers: CRM Companies, whose CEO is Craig Turner, and Cowgill Partners, which is helmed by Buddy Cowgill. The other two companies are Municipal Consolidation and Construction and Pure Development. The proposals were due to the city by March 28.
Municipal Consolidation and Construction is based in Washington D.C. and is a subsidiary of Franklin L. Haney Company, a real estate company. According to its website, Municipal Consolidation and Construction specializes in consolidating municipal buildings.
Pure Development is an Indianapolis-based developer. Representatives from Pure Development and Municipal Consolidation and Construction did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
City officials said details of the proposals can not be released until the proposals have been reviewed.
Turner said Wednesday his plan is to use the Lexington Herald-Leader building for city hall. CRM Companies has an option to buy the building at 100 Midland Ave. Turner said his plans include modifying the four-story building to add a parking garage and additional space for a new city hall.
“We put a real concerted effort to make it attractive to the city aesthetically as well as financially,” said Turner.
Cowgill said he has proposed building a 180,000 square foot city hall with a 200-car garage at the corner of Martin Luther King and Corral streets. City hall was once located in the same block.
“We think we have got a good product,” Cowgill said. “We like our location. It’s close to Main but it’s not right on Main. There is also a lot of parking in that area with the parking garage for the courthouses and the Helix garage (next to the police station).”
Cowgill said he also owns land next to that property, which has ample space for a new police station. Currently, the police station is on Main Street.
Todd Slatin, the city’s director of purchasing, said a committee of city employees will look at and score the proposals.
“As far as time line goes, our selection committee will meet on May 30 for our initial scoring and we hope to come up with a short list of firms to interview, but we may also decide to ask some clarifying questions,” said Slatin.
Mayor Jim Gray’s proposed $370 million budget released Tuesday does not include money for a new city hall. That’s because it will likely take several months for the committee to score the responses.
Gray has said the city will not move unless it is cheaper than staying in its current buildings downtown. The main government center on Main Street is the former Lafayette Hotel, which was built in 1918. It cost the city just shy of $4 million a year to maintain all of its five downtown buildings, a May consultant’s report found.
Sally Hamilton, the city’s chief administrative officer, said after the committee reviews the four proposals all of the information will be presented to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council for a final decision. Even if the city decides to move, it would likely take more than a year for that developer to either retrofit or build a new building, she said.
The city has been debating whether to move for decades and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to help find a suitable home. That effort gathered steam in recent years as the cost to maintain the government’s buildings climbs. It costs more than $1 million each year to run the current government center on Main Street.
Most recently, the city looked at buying the Lexington Public Library on Main Street. But a consultant’s report in May found that building is too small to meet the city’s needs.