It's about to get a lot easier to look up a property record or get an absentee ballot in Ramsey County -- depending on whether you live and work downtown or are coming from elsewhere.
The Property Records and Revenue Department, which also contains the elections office, is moving this weekend from its space along downtown St. Paul's river bluff to an open building on the West Side. Parking will be free.
The department uses about 60,000 square feet spread throughout the various buildings that make up the old West Publishing complex at 50 W. Kellogg, between Market and St. Peter streets. The elections office will be closed today, and property records service will be limited at the Kellogg building. The entire department should be up and running on Monday. Go to www.co.ramsey.mn.us for more information.
"They've done a good job of planning out the move," said Jolly Mangine, the county's director of property management. "I'm very optimistic they'll be ready to rock and roll."
The new building, purchased by the county earlier this year for $2.6 million, is a bit smaller but allows the department to be more efficient, Mangine said. About $2 million was spent on construction to get the new space ready.
About 160 employees will make the move.
The offices moving to the new building include:
• Recorder and registrar of titles.
• County assessor.
• Tax forfeited land.
• Examiner of titles.
• Property records and revenue administration.
Joe Mansky, county elections manager, is ecstatic because his operations will be on one floor. Currently, his office is on the seventh floor of the West building, storage for voting equipment is on the second floor, and the truck dock to move everything is on the first floor.
"It will be nice to be in a modern facility," he said.
The space left behind will likely be filled by county employees currently working in the "F Building," the easternmost part of the West complex. County commissioners voted 6 to 1 in October to raze the F building and old county jail, which sits vacant, as part of county efforts to shed its prime riverfront real estate.
The county is negotiating with two developers, Minnesota-based Opus Northwest and Belgium-based WingField, which each want the land to build a mix of housing, hotel, office and shop space. The County Board is expected to choose one of the purchase agreements on Dec. 18.
Chris Havens • 651-298-1542