Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week’s newsletter is to provide a quick update regarding the proposed General Services Building. You may remember from a previous e-mail, I was opposed to the idea of a new building in the first place, and even voted against the funding for the preliminary design. Also, the more I look at the 63-20 financing plan, the less impressed I am with its selling points of saving money and providing a guaranteed price - which would not include change orders.
The media has covered the saga of two citizens who are suing the sponsor of a referendum to allow the public to vote on this $142.5 million building. On Friday, Pierce County judges recused themselves from case, and I am told a judge from Kitsap County may preside over the case sometime next month. We will have to wait to see if the County Charter’s language is clear about your right to a referendum on any non-emergency ordinance.
Perhaps my biggest concern over the new building is the lack of alternatives not considered for analysis. Leases can be renegotiated. Other buildings are available. The Council was not presented with any other research. When I learned that the Intel building at the DuPont Corporate Center could achieve over $150 million in savings, I knew it would be wrong to not at least see the building and consider the opportunity. So I toured the Intel office spaces, which were quite impressive to say the least. While the location may be a challenge, its features should not be ignored.
Built in 1994, this 96-acre campus has over 462,000 sq. feet of available office space and ample parking. The power is purchased directly from the energy market, providing approximately a 30-percent savings there. There is fiber connectivity to the campus and the buildings are virtually "plug and play." Of course, there is a generator backup as well. Building 2 is 312,000 sq. feet and nearly turn-key ready. There are two, 149-person meeting rooms as well as two, 35-person capacity training rooms. Office furniture is also included. There is a full service cafeteria that could be leased or perhaps used for a culinary school.
The biggest selling point was that the lease payment from Intel (for the two floors of space they currently use in Building 3) would cover the payment to buy both Buildings 2 and 3. If the County preferred to lease, we’d be looking at $12 per sq. foot as opposed to around $35. In addition, the bonds that would be sold to purchase the buildings would be at a lower interest rate than the bonds sold in the 63-20 plan.
Whether or not you believe the location of the Intel campus is conducive for county services, it’s an example of possibilities far more affordable than committing taxpayers to nearly $8,000,000 per year for 30 years, which does not include maintenance and operation. I’d love to hear from you, pro or con. I truly appreciate the support I have received to maintain opposition to a new GSB without a vote of the people.
I hope you all are enjoying this fabulous weather. We need to enjoy it while we have it!