The old Macomb County administration building has not been occupied since a fire in the middle of April. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Mount Clemens — In the wake of last spring’s fire at the old Macomb County administration building, officials are considering a $61 million proposal to add space for some county departments and revamp some facilities, including a 37-year-old parking garage.
During a Board of Commissioners’ meeting Wednesday, Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin and Greg VanKirkand Gino Del Pup of Plante Moran Cresa presented the proposal.
Deldin said the study was prompted by the electrical fire in the old building. The 13-floor facility housed such departments as finance, file storage, human resources and administrative offices. More than 200 county employees were relocated.
“The building has not been occupied since the middle of April, and we needed to figure out how we were going to repurpose it,” Deldin said. “They (employees) are now squeezed in some nooks and crannies and rented space that we have been utilizing for the last several months.”
VanKirk said that in June a space survey was emailed to department heads in the county’s central campus. Those departments were then interviewed about space needs as well as parking. Site visits were conducted at the administration and the old county buildings, the Talmer Bank Building and the Clemens Center.
Del Pup highlighted possible changes at the administration building, which has two floors dedicated to storage. The ever-growing Prosecutor’s Office takes up two floors, while the finance department is located in the Talmer building. The study proposes dedicating one of those floors to the Prosecutor’s Office and the other to the finance department.
The two-story Talmer building would be home to the Register of Deeds and the planning department. Currently, the county rents space at the Talmer building for $10,000 month plus utilities, said Deldin.
The study suggests the county purchase the Talmer building, which is valued up to $1 million.
Friend of the Court and Juvenile Court would be moved out of the 16th Circuit Court and into the old county building. The circuit court building would then be dedicated strictly to courts, said Del Pup.
The study also addressed public parking. The county has a 100 percent employee dedicated parking system, making it difficult for the public to find a spot near county departments. The study found that 300 parking spaces could be reallocated and made available to the public.
“Go through these parking lots at any given time of the day, there is ample room in these reserved spots because of staff not being there,” said Del Pup. “Nowadays people work mobile or from home.”
Del Pup said the 37-year-old parking structure adjacent to the 16th Circuit Court should be replaced. The county spends up to $300,000 a year maintaining the 600-vehicle structure.
“It has a useful life span of 40 years,” Del Pup said. “Eventually within the next few years, the county will have to spend quite a bit of money to make it last another 10 or 20 years.”
A new parking structure would cost up to $25 million and accommodate 700 vehicles.
Del Pup said the overall project could be done in 30 months.
The insurance claim on the old Macomb County administration building — estimated to be up to $10 million, according to Deldin — would be deducted from the $61 million project cost.
Deldin said county officials are still in negotiations with the insurance company and the total claim won’t be determined until the end of the year.