Politics & Government

Sedgwick County buys former IRS building in downtown Wichita

The former IRS building in downtown Wichita will be the new home of some Sedgwick County offices. (Aug. 13, 2014)
The former IRS building in downtown Wichita will be the new home of some Sedgwick County offices. (Aug. 13, 2014) File photo

Sedgwick County commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to buy the former IRS building in downtown Wichita for $4.9 million.

The deal is slated to close later this week. Commissioners Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau voted against buying the building, saying there were less expensive alternatives.

The county plans to use the building at 271 W. Third St. 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.

A majority of commissioners in August voted to buy the building for $5 million.

Since then, the owner of the building 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. Peterjohn and Ranzau expressed concern that the county’s appraisal was lower than the purchase price. 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 city of Wichita will let the county use 132 parking spaces – 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.

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

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