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Officials approve $6.5 million for purchase of Advantis Credit Union building

Milwaukie city officials have approved up to $6.5 million for purchasing the building owned by Advantis Credit Union for use as City Hall.

PHOTO COURTESY: CITY OF MILWAUKIE - Milwaukie City Hall is seen in the 1950s when it still housed a fire department.Milwaukie officials are in a due-diligence period through November for purchasing Advantis' building, located two blocks north of the current City Hall on Main Street. Officials say the current building, constructed in 1938, is too small and would be more expensive to renovate and expand.

City Councilor Lisa Batey wanted to make sure the public understood the need for more space that the city has struggled with for over a decade. She and other city officials believe the purchase of the Advantis building will provide a fiscally prudent opportunity to solve several ongoing problems.

"People who know City Hall know we lost a conference room to add staff space," Batey said. "We all know construction costs are going up — we've seen that with our library and other projects — so the cost of retrofitting this building to be seismically sound and expanding it would never come in at $6-7 million."

Lisa BateyAccording to the Clackamas County Assessor's Office, the Advantis land and building have a market value of around $5 million.

Both city and Advantis administrative employees currently are split between various office locations. Milwaukie officials hope to acquire the Advantis building to provide a good location to consolidate City Hall employees with planning/building permit employees currently located on Johnson Creek Boulevard.

Advantis has administrative office locations in Milwaukie, Clackamas and Southeast Portland. Kyleigh Gill, a spokesperson for Advantis, said these areas are of particular interest for the credit union in acquiring land for building a new corporate campus, in addition to considering potential buildings for sale or lease.

"After several years of consecutive growth in assets, membership and employees, we've reached a point in which we need to establish a new corporate campus," Gill said. "The Advantis Board of Directors, who are elected by and from our membership, agreed that a new corporate campus will allow us to work more efficiently and support our strong member-focused culture."

Electra Central Credit Union and PACE Employees' Credit Union merged to become Advantis Credit Union on Oct. 1, 2005. Its building was completed in 2003 in downtown Milwaukie and has hosted the majority of Advantis administrative employees over the years.

"We have remodeled and built out each of the three floors over time," Gill said.

City officials plan to lease back the building to Advantis for 24 months, but the credit union has the option to give notice and leave earlier.

"That gives us a good solid two years, from the point at which we close, to work through a public process to determine what we'll do with this space," said Milwaukie's Community Development Director Leila Aman.

Milwaukie will incur debt to acquire the property and for a $500,000 estimated renovation budget. City staff are planning to return to City Council for approval of a financing agreement that will include an exact amount.

Repayment of the debt is planned through the lease-back payments from Advantis and a reduction in budgets for renovating the existing City Hall. Additional financing for the city's new property will come from selling city-owned properties like the Pond House, once used for special library events and book sales.

City officials also plan to sell the Bertman House on Southeast 37th Avenue currently leased by New Century Players, a nonprofit theater company. No plans have been put in place yet as to the future of the current City Hall.


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