Hennepin County officials spent several hours Thursday trying to sway the County Board on the feasibility of buying the $55 million Thrivent Financial building near the county’s Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.
Last week, commissioners peppered County Administrator David Hough and others with dozens of questions about the pricey purchase, demanding more detail about how it would dramatically improve the county’s ability to serve citizens more efficiently.
Commissioner Mike Opat, who had earlier said he wouldn’t support the purchase, asked his colleagues to delay any vote Thursday because he wasn’t able to attend the meeting.
So the proposal will go before a board committee next week, with a final vote expected by the board Sept. 26.
Besides the 17-story dark pink Thrivent building at 625 4th Av. S., the county plan includes the $11.5 million purchase of 332 parking stalls at a nearby property that is slated for mixed-use development.
The new headquarters planned to be built by Thrivent across the street will include a skyway that connects to Hennepin County Medical Center. The company would pay the county $11 million in rent while its new headquarters is built.
A newly constructed building, Hough said, would cost the county about $335 per square foot to build. The purchase price of the Thrivent building, plus renovation expenses, would be about $200 per square foot, he said.
County officials want to consolidate several of the 129 properties that the county leases or owns.
They include space leased at the Grain Exchange Building, a mental health clinic at 1801 Nicollet Av. S. in Minneapolis, and some office space for community corrections officers.
Hough said the county would like to move the Family Justice Center into the Thrivent building and then sell the justice center’s current home. Approximately $20 million to $25 million in planned capital projects could be shifted to the Thrivent purchase.
“We need to lighten our footprint in the county,” Hough said.