ProJo reports on plans by the city to consolidate Municipal offices into one City Administrative Center. The city currently has some agencies spread out in leased space across the city. This causes confusion for residents seeking services and forces city employees to wander all over town to attend inter-departmental meetings.
The city is seeking between 50,000 and 80,000 square feet of space in a building downtown or in an area on the near West Side near Classical High School or the Public Safety Building.
Possible locations include:
The vacant Gateway Center aka “AmEx Building” most recently home to Fidelity which used the building temporarily until moving staff to new buildings in Smithfield:
The Gateway Center’s 135,110-square-foot space is hard to subdivide and the city has struggled to find businesses needing that much space. A move of city offices to the Gateway Center could finally answer the question of who will occupy that building. It has had a revolving door of tenants of late. The building is larger than the city is looking for. Potentially that extra space could be leased out to related non-profits, or used as co-working space for entrepeneurs.
Another possible location is the Providence Gas Building at 100 Weybosset Street recently vacated by National Grid:
The Providence Journal Building on Sabin Street, currently for sale by the Journal’s corporate owners:
Buildings recenlty vacated by Blue Cross Blue Shield including 1 LaSalle Square:
The city is seeking a 15-25 year lease for the City Administrative Center with rent of no more than $736,000. The departments which may be housed in the new center include law, planning, inspection and standards, workforce solutions, licensing, the registrar, the city fire marshal’s office, and the licensing bureaus.
In the RFP, the city seeks a building with 100-200 parking spaces for the up to 250 city workers that would occupy it, plus 15 parking spaces for members of the public visiting the building.
For once, I agree with some of the comments on ProJo. The city (and the state) should be discouraging workers from driving into downtown and encouraging them to utilize RIPTA more, as private companies such as GTECH and Blue Cross Blue Shield have done at their new buildings. Last year the mayor signed an Executive Order stating that all new municipal buildings shall be LEED certified. As this will not be a new building, I suppose it will not need to be LEED per that Executive Order. 200 parking spaces for municipal employees however is not in the spirit of that order.
Aside from the parking issue, I believe consolidating city offices into one building is a good idea.