Politics & Government

Sedgwick County Commission to vote on IRS building purchase, financing

The former IRS building in downtown Wichita will be the new home of a Sedgwick County tag office if commissioners approve the financing on Wednesday. (Aug. 13, 2014)
The former IRS building in downtown Wichita will be the new home of a Sedgwick County tag office if commissioners approve the financing on Wednesday. (Aug. 13, 2014) File photo

Sedgwick County will close on the former IRS building in downtown Wichita later this week if commissioners approve financing on Wednesday.

The county plans to pay about $4.9 million for the six-story building at 271 W. Third to house the main license tag office, the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, the Metropolitan Area Planning Department, the appraiser’s office, environmental resources and the sheriff’s office’s professional standards unit.

Total cost of the project – including remodeling, architectural services and furnishings – is expected to be more than $15.7 million. If commissioners approve the deal this week, the county would issue general obligation bonds for about $16 million.

Commissioners voted 3-2 in August to pay $5 million for the building. Board members Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau voted against the purchase, saying there were less expensive options.

Since then, the owner of the building has agreed to come down $116,000 because of needed repairs, County Manager William Buchanan said in a recent memo to commissioners and other county leaders. Repair costs include $85,000 to fix leaking windows, $28,000 to change the width and slope of a wheelchair path, $5,000 to patch the roof and $3,160 to remediate mold caused by the leaking windows.

The building is appraised by the county at $4,269,800 and offers 92,372 square feet of space, according to public records. The real estate listing for the building says it is for sale for $6.9 million and has 94,342 square feet of office space.

The county has been searching for a while for a new home for the downtown tag office at 200 W. Murdock and the relatively new joint city-county building and construction department.

The city of Wichita is expected to give the county use of 132 parking space – 74 in the city’s parking lot at the southwest corner of Third and Main, 40 spaces in the gated lot southwest of City Hall and 18 spaces at the city’s Rounds and Porter building near Third and Waco – in exchange for office space for its building and construction and planning employees.

Commissioners will vote during their regular weekly meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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