City a few signatures away from owning Banner Bank building

Published on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic has but to sign a collection of documents and the Banner Bank building will be the property of the city of Blaine.

City staff have been working since last July to purchase the 25,000-square-foot building, which sits on the corner of Martin and 4th streets in downtown Blaine. Tomsic said the city’s staff offices, municipal court and council chambers will occupy about 7,000 square feet of the building.

“It took a while, but I think it came together pretty nicely,” Tomsic said.

Most of the building’s current tenants, including Banner Bank, will stay put. Tomsic said the rent will bring in $50,000 per year, which will help to cover the operating costs and the city’s $99,150 per year debt payments on the building.

The city has agreed to purchase the building for $1.8 million and plans to spend approximately $400,000 on altering the interior of two floors to fit the city’s needs. The bulk of the renovations will focus on the fourth floor, which will be converted into the municipal courtroom and city council chambers, Tomsic said.

The city’s staff offices will be on the third floor, and a small section of this space will need to be altered to fit the city cashier’s walk-up window. The majority of the other third floor work will be minor office reconfiguration.

In preparation for the renovation work, Blaine City Council approved a contract not to exceed $25,200 with Bellingham-based Landsem Architects. The firm has also been working on the design of the Blaine Pavilion, proposed to be built alongside the Blaine Senior Center.

Landsem will be paid to prepare bid documents for a second set of contractors, who will complete the renovation work. Blaine community development director Michael Jones estimated the design work will take about four weeks.

Blaine city staff expect to be moved into the new city hall by this August.

Tomsic said the move is desperately needed due the space limitations and dilapidated condition of the current city hall building. Once city hall is moved, Tomsic said the old building will most likely be demolished.