County Delays Buying Building

    GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County commissioners decided last week to delay their purchase of 82 Ionia Ave. NW, a building in which the county has leased space since 1998.

    In July, the board agreed to exercise its option on the building and planned to close on the transaction by March. At that time the purchase price was $5.2 million and the county planned to make $800,000 worth of improvements to the building and its property.

    But County Administrator Daryl Delabbio told commissioners that there wasn’t enough time for the county to negotiate the six subleases in the office structure by the closing date. He added that the impending retirement of Facilities Director Jim Leech and other items on the county’s agenda were additional reasons for pushing back the purchase date.

    Delabbio said the county was now looking at buying the building from SIBSCO LLC in 2005 for an expected purchase price of $5.3 million. Initially, the county’s next chance to buy the building was to come in 2008, but SIBSCO agreed to move up the date to 2005.

    The county leases 72,000 square feet in the building, which houses the Friend of the Court, the prosecutor’s office and Circuit Court Probation. Kent County signed a 20-year lease with SIBSCO four years ago and spends about $720,000 annually in lease payments there. The lease gives the county a number of opportunities to buy the building.           

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