The Monroe County Commissioners voted Wednesday to take the next step needed to purchase the north portion of the Showers building. Commissioners agreed to “enter into a lease,” but Commissioner Mark Stoops said what that actually gives them the ability to do is to lease the building from the county’s building corporation while the county pays off the mortgage—an effort that Stoops said will take about five years. After that Stoops said he’d like to see the building corporation retain technical ownership of the building in order to act as landlord to any entities renting space in the building and also to benefit the county.
“We have departments that may operate under grants. Right now we can’t capture any of our overhead from those grants, but if the properties are owned by a building corporation then we can calculate the amount of overhead involved—everything from utilities to cost per square foot and actually have the grant cover some of that expense,” Stoops said.
Stoops said he anticipates that the county will take about half of the available office space in the building within the next five years. The rest of the space, he said, will be leased to outside entities such as Indiana University. Those leases will help build revenue. County officials estimate the total lease revenue to be collected next year will be $600,000. They put that number at about $300,000 in 2017 saying lease revenue will decrease as county offices take over those previously leased spaces. Stoops says restructuring of leases may cause fluctuation in those projections, but maintains any shifts will be more than made up for by the money the county will save by being able to move county offices out of leased space and into a county owned building.
The building corporation has not yet purchased the building. Signing the resolution starts a 30-day holding period during which Stoops said the public is given the opportunity to raise any concerns relating to the purchase through a remonstrance process.