Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg leaders will again mull options for new police headquarters

ST. PETERSBURG — With debate over the city's police headquarters about to enter its fourth year, city officials said Monday they plan to present the council with three construction options early next year.

The scenarios include two that are similar to proposals the council has already debated, as well as a third that falls in the middle, both in terms of cost and the facility's scale. In each case, the new headquarters would go on the north side of First Avenue N, across the street from the existing police station. But what would happen to the current station differs in each of the plans.

City officials' first proposal calls for a new 92,000-square-foot building that would cost the city about $40 million. Staff from a half-dozen units within the Police Department would move out of the agency's eastern building, which was completed in the 1950s, and into the new structure.

To keep costs low, the city would not demolish the eastern building, but would essentially abandon it. The department's administration would continue to work out of its western building, which went up in the 1970s.

For $50 million, public works administrator Mike Connors said plans call for a slightly larger building. At 100,000 square feet, it would allow enough room for the agency's administrative staff to relocate, as well as officers in other units.

The additional money also would allow the city to tear down the eastern building instead of leaving it boarded up, Connors said.

The third proposal is both the costliest and the one that most resembles an earlier plan for a police headquarters that the council shelved in 2012 because of its $64 million cost.

In this scenario, the city would spend $68 million on a 187,000-square-foot building that would replace both the western and eastern buildings that make up the police headquarters. Rather than demolish the old buildings, the city would sell the entire property to a private developer who would likely pay for the structures to be torn down.

Connors estimated that the property, including the south-facing parking lot, is worth upward of $2 million.

The council will hear about and consider the three proposals in January, he said, after Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman has been briefed on the plans. Kriseman takes office Jan. 2.

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

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