Changes proposed for state offices buildings

1/13/2014

TOPEKA (AP) — Topeka legislators are raising questions about plans by the Kansas Department of Administration to raze a state office building and relocate agencies to privately owned buildings.

TOPEKA (AP) — Topeka legislators are raising questions about plans by the Kansas Department of Administration to raze a state office building and relocate agencies to privately owned buildings.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the $17 million project would involve demolishing the Docking Building and relocating the Department of Revenue and Department for Children and Family Services. The cost includes building a new structure to house utilities that support state government operations.

In addition, the state would seek to sell the Landon State Office Building and Eisenhower State Office Building and negotiate long-term leases with the new property owners.

Legislators questioned Administration Secretary Jim Clark during a meeting Thursday about the feasibility of the project and whether the local property market could absorb new development space. A joint House and Senate building construction committee will hear more about the proposal on Jan. 16.

Clark said the state either must move out of Docking or find the money to invest in $75 million to $85 million in deferred maintenance to make the building suitable for occupancy. He also said it was difficult to justify state ownership of buildings as a core function of government, the newspaper reported.

Rep. Ken Corbet, a Topeka Republican, agreed with Clark's stance on property ownership, adding that failure to adequately spend money to maintain the buildings contributed to their decline.

The proposals for state office buildings come as the state is winding down work on a 13-year, nearly $330 million renovation of the Statehouse.

State officials have for years pondered the future of the 1950s-era Docking building because of what they've seen as the high cost of renovating it. One 2004 estimate put the cost of a renovation at $40 million, and in 2007, the department, under Democratic then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, proposed spending $77 million to gut the building and reconstruct it from the inside.

Sen. Vicki Schmidt, also a Topeka Republican, questioned whether buyers would be interested in the property, considering the state backed out of a deal to sell a portion of a parking lot near the Capitol Complex in 2013.

"How do you think it looks for us to put more property up for bid?" she said.

------

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

comments powered by Disqus
I commented on a story, but my comments aren't showing up. Why?
We provide a community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day.
Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. We expect civil dialogue.
Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome.
Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum.

If you don't see your comment, perhaps you ...
... called someone an idiot, a racist, a moron, etc. Name-calling or profanity (to include veiled profanity) will not be tolerated.
... rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
... included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
... accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
... made a comment in really poor taste.

MULTIMEDIA