Officials evaluate City Hall move

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Discussions continue as to whether City Hall will have a new address soon.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and members of his administration have presented the city council with a timetable that could have the city government moved out of its current building at 13615 Michigan Ave. and into a new complex called the Dearborn Administrative Center further down Michigan at 16901.

The new building is just west of the Henry Ford Centennial Library and in close proximity to both the Dearborn Police Department and the 19th District Circuit Court.

The city bought the building and some of the surrounding property last year for $3.2 million. Officials intend to sell the current city hall building to Artspace, a contemporary art gallery and non-profit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., which plans to renovate the building into a workplace and residence for artists.

The complex could be used to house almost 50 artists and spaces for their studios. It also could contain arts organizations and other creative businesses. Artspace currently owns 32 art facilities in 13 states.

O’Reilly said a sales contract for the deal is currently in the hands of Artspace’s attorneys. He added that the city hoped to have an agreement in place by the end of the month. The appraised price of the current city hall is $1.65 million, which O’Reilly said would be the asking price for the sale.

In addition to the timetable, O’Reilly also submitted the finances for the two buildings and what costs would apply to either if the city chose to use it.

In the current building, annual operating costs are nearly $1.6 million. Current capital needs are roughly $8.2 million based on $6.2 million for outdated systems and $2 million for the parking deck.

If city hall is moved to the new building, annual operating costs will be roughly $1.1 million. Capital needs would be $7.75 million including money for the purchase, startup, carrying costs and renovations.

O’Reilly also said Artspace is applying to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority for Low Income Housing Tax Credit money. If the purchase is agreed to, Artspace hopes to move into the complex next June and begin having artist tenants following renovations they wish to make to it.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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