Humboldt County is looking to buy two Eureka properties with a collective asking price of nearly $4 million | Lost Coast Outpost
The local real estate market has been hot latelyand Humboldt County wants to invest in property.
At tomorrow’s Supervisory Board meeting, staff are seeking approval to negotiate terms for the purchase of two Eureka office buildings, along with the land they sit on. While the purchase price is yet to be finalized — and deals could fall apart for a variety of reasons — the properties are listed for a combined price of $3,895,000.
The larger of the two, pictured above, houses a two-story, 8,760-square-foot office building whose architect apparently tried to hide its bland side by slamming a few incongruous faux-Greek columns into the front.
Formerly the headquarters of an accounting firm, the building is in “very good condition for the local market and would require relatively minimal work to be occupied by Humboldt County staff,” according to a staff report. This is listed for sale at $2.4 million.
Why does the county want this thing? Deputy County Administrator Sean Quincey said the specific future use remains to be seen, but there are a number of county buildings that need renovation or replacement, including the public defender’s office. at 1001 Fourth Street, the aging Clark Complex on Harris between H and I. streets (housing among other things the Planning and Building Department) and the Public Works Department, currently housed in trailers near the Adorni Center. This building could serve as a “rotating space” while renovation or redevelopment projects are underway.
Over the long term, the county is working to achieve a vision contained in its Facilities Master Plan – namely, to consolidate related services into a series of “campuses” for public convenience. Quincey said this Fourth Street property could play a role in that transition.
As for the other property, located at 404 H Street, the county already leases the one-story, 7,334-square-foot building, with the probation service using it to house its Community Correctional Resource Centerwhich is billed as a “one-stop shop” to meet the diverse needs of high-risk residents under county oversight.
Probation staff along with the Humboldt County Community Corrections Partnership (HCCCP) Executive Committee want the county to consider purchasing this property, now that it is on the market (listed at $1,495,000). A staff report states, “The potential to own a building that is currently leased would be an investment in county facilities for the greater public benefit.”
Maybe so, but does the county really have the money for such investments right now? Less than six weeks ago, as you may recall, the Board of Supervisors passed a hiring freeze because a backlog of overdue tax reports left directors with such glaring blind spots on the books that ‘they were unable to complete the annual budget.
Quincey emphasized that tomorrow’s agenda items do not lock the county into buying those properties. Instead, they would allow Public Works staff to negotiate the terms. Meanwhile, he said, Acting Auditor-Comptroller Cheryl Dillingham worked to complete the county’s overdue tax reports.
“We’re still cleaning up our books,” Quincey said. “Cheryl is doing a great job there, but at the same time we need to keep putting things in motion so that we can seize opportunities when we have more clarity.”
The county administrative office approved the use of funds from the 2020 financing plan, which Quincey described as a line of credit, for the purchase of 1315 Fourth Street.
The HCCCP, meanwhile, approved the Public Safety Realignment Trust’s expenditure of $20,000 for “preliminary investigations and negotiations” regarding the purchase of 404 H Street.
Both items are on the consent schedule for tomorrow, which means they must be approved without specific board deliberations.