Osseo Police could occupy former pharmacy building

Other relocation options still on the table

BY SUE WEBBER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

 

Just two weeks ago, four options were being considered for a future police building in Osseo.

Now there are five. The Osseo City Council on Oct. 14 heard a revised review of the current options.

“New options keep coming up,” City Administrator Douglas Reeder said.

Last week, he said, the owner of the Dance Studio on 81 called City Hall and asked if the city would consider purchasing that building for the police. According to Reeder, Police Chief Tom Hartkopf toured the building and found that “it is actually larger than we need,” with a total square footage of 11,6000 square feet.  The building would require extensive modification, Reeder said. It is on the market for $800,500.

“Considering the location, cost and need for extensive renovation, this building does not appear to be a viable option to pursue further,” Reeder said.

The current Osseo Police Department at 408 1st Ave. NW, was constructed in 1930 as a single-family house. The city of Osseo purchased the building for $90,000 in 1996 as a temporary location for its Police Department. (Photo by Sue Webber)

The current Osseo Police Department at 408 1st Ave. NW, was constructed in 1930 as a single-family house. The city of Osseo purchased the building for $90,000 in 1996 as a temporary location for its Police Department. (Photo by Sue Webber)

Another new option arose when the owner of the Osseo Sports Building across the street from City Hall called and asked if the city would consider buying it for the Police Department.

According to Reeder, the building has no central air or heat,  no insulation, and needs all new plumbing and electrical wiring. It  would “essentially have to be gutted,” Reeder said.

“The location is pretty good and using it for a police building would keep a fairly historic building in Osseo in a public use,” Reeder said. However, city staff does not have a price on the building, he said.

“It is a pretty certain thing that the cost of renovation would be very high,” Reeder said.

At its Sept. 30 meeting, the council first considered the building that formerly housed the Main Street Pharmacy on the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street Northeast.

The pharmacy building, constructed in 2001, has 10,000 square feet on two floors. It is currently on the market for $499,000. Needed renovations include making part of the first floor into a garage, building needed offices, and building locker rooms on the lower level.

Reeder said this week that the structure could be used as a police building with a renovation and addition cost estimated at $554,000.

“The cost is far more than what staff had anticipated, and with the asking price of $499,000 makes this option very expensive,” Reeder said. He also noted that the building is “remote from the City Hall.”

The option also would require the city to coordinate its ownership with an attached building and share parking, snow removal, trash and utilities with a property owned by someone else, Reeder said.

“All in all this option with the high costs and location and shared property may not be something the city should continue to consider,” Reeder said.

Modris Feders, a principal with Buetow 2 Architects, Inc., told the council that “all the functions the police desire could be laid out in the footprint of the pharmacy.”

The building would need a security wall, he said, but could accommodate police occupancy by mid-September 2014.

Other options on the table include:

• Building a new 6,600 square foot police station on the City Hall parking lot, at an estimated cost of $1.43 million. The construction would be financed by issuing bonds or using cash on hand and would take about 12 months to complete, Reeder said.

• A 6,300 square foot Police Department office on the first floor of the second phase of the Five Central apartment building on the corner of Central Avenue and 5th Street NW, at an estimated cost of $1.125 million. The building is directly across the street from the current City Hall and Police Department building.

That option became more attractive last week, Reeder said, because its developer, The Beard Group, is proposing a groundbreaking for the second phase in April 2014 and a completion date of February 2015.

“This is much faster than was expected and keeps this option as very viable from a standpoint of timing, location and cost,” Reeder said.

• Purchasing and remodeling the existing 3,478 square foot building at 25 4th Street NW, adjacent to the current City Hall site. The building, constructed in 1976 and remodeled in 2009, originally was a dentists’ office and currently is used for office space for an engineering company. The $1.183 million cost is higher than estimates presented to the city council on Aug. 12, according to a memo from Reeder, because building inspectors have said the building must have sprinklers and an elevator if the basement is used for locker rooms. Those costs could be avoided by putting an addition on the first floor, he said, which would increase the cost of the project and bring it to 6,300 square feet of space.

At Monday night’s meeting, Reeder suggested that the council adjourn to a closed session to talk about purchasing the pharmacy property.

After a 40-minute closed meeting, City Attorney Loren Magsam said the council had determined that it will make a purchase offer on the former pharmacy property at 24 3rd Street NE.

Reeder said after the meeting that the council’s decision does not remove the other options from further discussion. The process of making an offer, receiving probable counter offers and then evaluating whether to go ahead with the purchase will take additional time and council discussion, he said.

Reeder said earlier the replacement of the city’s Police Department building was given a high priority on a recent survey of residents.

“The replacement of the current Police building is important because the current facility, which was built as a house, is totally inadequate for a modern police department,” Reeder said, in an Aug. 12  memo to the City Council.

The current Police Department building was constructed  in 1930 as a single-family house. The city of Osseo purchased the building for $90,000 in 1996 as a temporary location for its Police Department, Reeder said.

Osseo’s Capital Improvement Plan includes $1 million for a police building, Reeder said.

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