Search is on for new Brentwood borough building
A vacant lot or empty storefront in the center of town could be the perfect spot for Brentwood's next municipal building.
Brentwood leaders are looking for ideas, and they're asking developers to come to them with plans.
“Basically, we're looking for a site, centrally located in Brentwood, that can house the administrative offices, police department, possibly council chambers,” Council President Marty Vickless said. “We're going to see what people come back with.”
Borough officials hope to lease a building in a public-private partnership to serve as its municipal hub, with the option to buy the facility, Vickless said.
Council members in a 6-0 vote Monday agreed to seek proposals for a lease agreement for a facility “in which certain municipal services can be contained.” Councilman John Frombach was absent.
The borough will begin to advertise today, Thursday, with proposals due Oct. 10.
Borough leaders have ideas of what they're looking for, based on projects they've seen completed in other municipalities and at state and county levels of governments through public-private partnerships, Vickless said. How this will play out in Brentwood, though, remains unknown, he said.
Brentwood leaders want to scale back and are seeking an approximately 12,897-square-foot space, which includes 4,605 square feet for the administrative offices, 1,952 square feet for council chambers and 6,340 square feet for the police department, based on details outlined in the request for proposal, or RFP. The current borough building contains 31,654 square feet.
Borough leaders are seeking a minimum 20-year initial lease, with at least three five-year renewal options, the RFP states.
“The ultimate goal is to eventually own the building,” borough manager George Zboyovsky said.
“We're looking for somebody to say, ‘I've got this building, or this site, I'll do whatever you want at such and such a rate. They're going to have to come and show us the plans ... It's going to be design, build and lease.”
Borough leaders hope they get a wide array of responses from the request, Vickless said.
“There are pieces of property in the borough that the borough might not even be aware is available,” Vickless said.
Borough leaders estimate it would cost between $6 and $8 million to build a new borough building. The cost for the prospective leased space is unknown at this point.
Borough leaders will negotiate the “exact terms of a lease agreement” with the successful applicant, the RFP states.
Applicants will evaluated based on their lease rate, terms, plans presented, the size of the facility, parking available, condition of the facility and location, with a preference for a building that is close to the borough's business center and public transportation, according to the request for proposal.
Brentwood leaders have discussed the need for a new borough building since the early 1990s, Zboyovsky said.
“In 1991, we needed a new building,” he said.
The borough building, in the 3600 block of Brownsville Road, needs a new heating-and-cooling system, and the roof needs to be fixed. It is not accessible to people with disabilities and has the potential for asbestos issues, Vickless said.
“If you walk down the back hallway, you can see outside through the wall. That's a problem,” Vickless said.
Space, too, is a problem, according to Vickless. There's too much of it. And it's in all the wrong places, and remodeling would become a multimillion-dollar project, he said.
Four years ago, the idea was to construct an office building at the site of the current borough building and lease out the space, a project often referred to as the “big Taj Mahal” that would have cost as much as $13 million, Zboyovsky said.
Other option included remodeling the building at a cost of $6 to $8 million. Or, there was the idea to upgrade the Civic Center and build a public-safety facility at the site of the current borough offices.
Public works recently was moved from the borough building to a new facility on East Willock Road, at a cost of $1.7 million.
Council chambers, too, wouldn't necessarily have to be with the borough offices and could be moved to other facilities, such as the Civic Center, in Brentwood Park, if need be, Vickless said.
Once the proposals are received, the borough's legal and financial counsels will review the plans, along with borough council, Vickless said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.