Tomorrow at 5 p.m., there's a special meeting of the Common Council to consider if they want to pay another $5,500 to buy themselves another month to decide whether or not to want to buy 701 Union Street and convert it into a police and court building.
The $5,500 a month the City is paying the owner to keep the building off the market while the Council makes up its collective mind will be subtracted from the sale price if the City buys the building, but it will be lost if the purchase doesn't happen. At the last Common Council meeting, Fifth Ward aldermen Cappy Pierro and Bob Donahue echoed an opinion first voiced by Fourth Ward supervisor Bill Hughes that a brand-new building could be constructed for "just a little more" than the $2.53 million needed to buy this building and the land behind it and renovate and equip it to the standards required for a court facility and police headquarters. "Just a little more"? How much is "just a little more"?
The senior center that the City was hoping to build for $1.08 million, even though the lowest bids came in at $1.3 million, would have been 4,200 square feet. The space requirement for the police and court building is 15,250 square feet--3.6 times more than the square footage of the proposed senior center. Assuming that furnishing and equipping the interior of a police and court building would cost no more than what was planned for the senior center, which was not significant, simple multiplication (1,080,000 x 3.6) brings the price for 15,250 square feet to $3.89 million. Given the kinds of things that are required for a building that houses the police department and the court--locker rooms, holding cells, storage for court records, secure storage for evidence, secure access and egress for delivering prisoners to court--the cost per square foot to construct such a building is undoubtedly much greater than what would be required for a senior center, so reason suggests that the price would be significantly more than $3.89 million.
To look at it another way, the Hudson Area Library will have 12,000 square feet in the renovated Galvan Community Center, which the library must furnish and equip itself, and the library board is looking to raise $2 million to do that. Seen from that perspective, $2.53 million for a building the City will own, which meets the needs of the police department and the requirements of the State Office of Court Administration, with land behind it for expansion, seems like a pretty good deal.
Besides--and some may think this was a blessing--Hudson missed out on having examples of mid-20th century architecture. It could be fun to have a municipal building reminiscent of 1950s L.A. modern.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CAROLE OSTERINK