HYATTSVILLE – The Hyattsville City Council has a mountain of decisions to make about future capital projects in the city, and the pressure is on to make those decisions before the citywide elections in May. Last week, the city council held a work session to discuss a variety of options for relocation of both the […]
HYATTSVILLE – The Hyattsville City Council has a mountain of decisions to make about future capital projects in the city, and the pressure is on to make those decisions before the citywide elections in May.
Last week, the city council held a work session to discuss a variety of options for relocation of both the city police department and the city’s administrative offices.
Jim Chandler, the assistant city manager, said the current city building is in desperate need of renovation due to a number of factors, including a failing HVAC system, lack of proper sized working spaces, and personnel on the first floor.
“There are a variety of mechanical pieces that are necessary to improve if we want to stay here, so there are costs,” Chandler said.
Over the past several years, the city has looked into relocation options with a building at 3505 Hamilton Street, which the city purchased in March 2010, at the forefront of options for the city’s police force.
Currently, the Hyattsville City Police are housed in the city’s municipal building on the second floor, but that could change in the coming years if the city council decides to move forward with the options set before them.
Those options, brought before council at last week’s work session, all come with pretty hefty price tags and essentially begin with the council making a decision about the police station.
In 2016, the council was informed that the possible scope and cost of a renovation of 3505 Hamilton Street would cost millions more than previous expected.
Chandler and city Department of Public Works Director, Lesley Riddle, said the reason for the increase in estimated cost largely centered around the fact that the original study focused on a “one for one” renovation. Essentially, that type of renovation means the cost for replacing the carpet with new carpet or replacing a window with a new window.
That type of study did not estimate the cost from redoing a building that was largely used for office and banking into a code and restrictions-complying police station.
“When it was evaluated in 2011 it was not specifically evaluated as a police building. It was evaluated as an office building,” Chandler said. “At that point the city had purchased it as an asset and there were all sorts of thoughts on what it should be used for.”
The estimated current cost for renovating 3505 Hamilton is $7.8 million and that money would be used to help remodel the building to comply with national standards such as having a Sally Port, secured parking, private interview rooms and evidence processing and storage.
The other option for the police station includes renting a portion of the vacant county services building off of Route 1, next to the District 1 police station. This option would likely be paired with moving the city’s administration offices and public meeting space to the vacant services building as well.
Chandler said the building off Route 1 is 71,000 square feet and, despite the city possibly needing space for both the police and city offices, Hyattsville would struggle to fill all the space and would likely have open space for another renter.
Moving into a vacant building does not come without cost either. Chandler said the city would have to renovate the building, and the price varies depending on if just the city moves to the county services building.
“It does need substantial renovations,” Chandler said.
Those renovations include making the building Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, particularly updating the elevators.
To just move city hall to the building would cost an estimated $8.8 million in renovation costs alone. That price does not include rent. An estimated $15.4 million price tag is on the renovation of the entire county building if the police were to move there as well.
Councilman Bart Lawrence questioned why the city would have to pay for the renovation of a county building and if the county would share in the cost at all, but Chandler said the city would end up paying for the renovation “one way or another,” since the current proposed rent is below market price.
“The other way to look at it is you don’t pay any upfront cost (for renovation), but you build that cost into the lease over the 30 years. So either way you’re still having to pay,” Chandler said
Other options for the city, if the police station is constructed at 3505 Hamilton, include partially renovating the city building – specifically on floor two where the police will have vacated – doing a full renovation, demolishing the current building and reconstructing on the same site or building a brand new facility at Centennial Park, where Route 1 meets Baltimore Avenue.
Chandler and Jeff Burkhart, who is with the firm Hyattsville hired to survey 3505 Hamilton and the city office options, said any renovation of the city building would be dependent on the police moving out. That means any renovation or the razing of the city building could not take place until the renovation of 3505 Hamilton Street.
The cost to renovate just the one floor is estimated at $5.2 million while a total renovation would cost $7.4 million. The total renovation cost does not include the money needed to rent a temporary home for the city offices while the building is renovated.
Demolishing the building is estimated at $800,000 plus the cost to build a new one and rent a temporary facility.
Burkhart estimates the new building costs would be similar to the projects in the city’s final option: building a new city hall at Centennial Park.
That option could be done in tandem with the renovation of 3505 Hamilton, but could potentially have the city paying for two large capital projects at the same time while still completing renovation of the department of public works facility and other smaller projects like the hoped-for parking garage in the Arts District.
To build a whole new building at the small park off Route 1 would cost an estimated $7.5 million, but would also give the city a clean slate to plan the building the way they want, Chandler said.
“It has a very reasonable cost,” Burkhart said. “It would be built to a LEED sustainable level, ADA total compatibility, public access and enhancement to the district.”
If the city were to combine the options, moving the police to 3505 and renovating the second floor has the cheapest estimated total price ($17.51 million) with moving the police to 3505 and building a new building at Centennial Park taking second place at $19.28 million.
Those estimates include the cost of design, construction, furniture, and possible temporary relocation.
The most expensive option at $43.03 million is moving both police and city to the county building. That estimate includes renovation, design and construction costs, and rent. Chandler also noted none of that investment would add value to the city, as the building is still the county’s.