With talk of selling City Hall buzzing around its corridors, the question remains: Would there be any takers?
Last week, Commissioner of Finance Matthew McCabe proposed the selling of City Hall as a means to subsidize the city's proposed $17 million in public safety capital projects. He reasoned that with the projects resulting in the move of the majority of the city's employees to those new facilities, the city should sell the old building instead of keeping a handful of staffers there.
The building, assessed at over $ million, would then be put on the tax rolls if sold and could generate sales tax revenue and business traffic if used for retail.
As of right now, we haven't heard anything, said Dawn Oesch, president of the Downtown Business Association. But she doesn't rule out the possibility. "I could definitely see some office space there, but maybe not retail. But you never know, the Downstreet Marketplace works for retail."
The capital budget calls for $25.8 million for improvements in the 2008 budget, $17.7 million in 2009 for new public safety facility and $19.9 million in 2010 before dropping down to $2.4 million in 2011. 2009 projects include $7.55 million for the water project, $4.32 million for the fire station and $1.28 million for rehab of the Canfield Casino. In 2010 $11.05 million is slated for a parking deck.
The public safety facility would move Saratoga Springs police from their 6,800-square-foot station to a new, larger facility that would also house the court facilities.
McCabe's proposal to sell City Hall came after citizens urged the City Council to think outside the box in generating revenue for these projects.
Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Kim said at a Monday, Sept. 10, press conference on the capital budget that he would consider McCabe's proposal but thinks the city should maintain a "ceremonial presence" on Broadway.