- Departments A-G
- Facilities Management
- Pierce County Justice Center
Pierce County Justice Center
Pierce County announced plans to purchase an office building located at 1501 Market St. in Tacoma. The building purchase is the next step in the County’s Justice Center and Space Planning Study, an initiative to combine justice-related programs into one campus to improve service delivery and public access.
The 149,330-square-foot office building and adjacent parking lot located at 1502 Market St. is currently owned by Regence BlueShield. Built in 1992, this is one of the more modern and well-maintained buildings in Downtown Tacoma. The agreed-to purchase price is $27,271,000.
The purchase of the building would allow for consolidation of County-leased spaces and maximize County-owned space utilization, a cost savings for taxpayers. The CCB would become a dedicated Justice Center for the growing needs of judicial and law enforcement operations for both the County and City of Tacoma. County administrative departments and Council would be relocated to the purchased building.
At the direction of the County Executive, Pierce County’s Facilities Management Department completed a Justice Center and Space Planning Study in 2022 which analyzed the expected 20-year needs for justice-related services. The study recommended the County convert the County-City Building (CCB) into a comprehensive Justice Center A single building for law and justice programs allows for more space and efficiencies for courtroom functions, improves customer service, and realizes a significant cost savings for the County as compared with new construction.
The 64-year-old CCB, Pierce County’s main headquarters, has exhausted all available space through renovations and expansions to accommodate increased court-related operations over the years.
View the Justice Center and Space Planning Summary
Director of Facilities Management
Send questions or comments
Move non-justice center functions out of the County-City Building to 1501 Market Street Building
- Risk Management
- Economic Development
- Human Resources
- Additional departments
Make improvements to the County-City Building to function as a Justice Center
- Courtrooms on 7th Floor
- Prosecuting Attorney Space on 10th Floor
- First floor- Jury, Clerk, or similar (TBD)
- Other Potential Improvements
- Department of Assigned Counsel
- Prosecuting Attorney - Family Support
Proposed Plan Schedule
May 2023Council Process
- Submit Ordinance & Resolutions - 5/4
- Final Hearing/Action - 5/30
- June 2023
Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement
- June - September 2023
Space planning for building
Define CCB Projects
- September 2023
Due Diligence Period
Bond Pricing and Closing
- October 2023
Closing of the sale
Occupy the 1501 Building
The purchase price of the building is $27,271,000 which is subject to appraisal and Council approval.
The building purchase, subject to approval by the County Council, would be funded through a bond issuance. New operational costs are covered by lease payment savings.
This plan saves $30M to $70M over constructing a new building, and speeds up the first phase of Justice Center improvements by 5 years. The plan does not require a tax increase, or reduction of existing services.
Proposed Location and Features
The Regence Building is located at 1501 Market Street in Tacoma. The property also includes the surface parking lot located at 1502 Market Street.
- 149,330 Square Feet
- 5 Stories
- 180 Parking Stalls
- New Roof, HVAC, and Elevator systems
Photo of the 1501 Building from the surface parking lot.
- What building is Pierce County interested in purchasing?
The building is located at 1501 Market Street in Tacoma. The property also includes the surface parking lot located at 1502 Market Street. Built in 1992, the 149,300-square-foot building features five stories, ample parking, easy access to public transit and walkable distance to downtown businesses and amenities.
- Who is the current owner of the building?
Regence BlueShield is the current owner and seller, and primary tenant of the building.
- Why is Pierce County purchasing the Regence Building?
The 64-year-old County-City Building (CCB) has evolved through expansion and renovations to accommodate various uses over the years. It is now stretched to its maximum, even taking into consideration new virtual and hybrid programs added over the last two years because of the pandemic. Without major system and building renovations, making programmatic revisions to the building are becoming increasingly challenging while new building codes and standards require safer and more energy efficient construction.
A 2022 Justice Center and Space Planning Study analyzed the County’s 20-year growth and demand, recommending that Pierce County find a suitable building for administrative operations. This will allow programs and services not related to law and justice to leave the CCB. The CCB would then become a fully supported and centrally located Pierce County Justice Center.
Moving administrative departments to an operations-focused building would provide an opportunity to replace outdated systems, improve operational efficiencies and boost customer service in law and justice programs through organizational adjacencies and improvements. Many of the building’s systems have reached or exceeded their life spans. The value is added by phasing in operational improvements and upgrades in a way that ensures the CCB remains a viable Pierce County asset for decades to come.
- How much is the Regence Building being sold for?
The building is listed for approximately $27 million, which is subject to appraisal.
- How is the County funding this purchase if the County is currently looking to cut costs?
The County will re-issue bonds that are currently set to expire for the purchase, pending Council approval. The total amount is estimated at $50 million. The debt service for these new bonds will be covered by the retirement of two previous bond debts. (Parkland Precinct, and 2002 Jail). The estimated cost of this bond debt is $3.1 million per year.
- What benefit is this sale to Pierce County and taxpayers?
The purchase of the building would allow for consolidation of County-leased spaces and maximize County-owned space utilization, a cost savings for taxpayers. The CCB would become a dedicated Justice Center for the growing needs of judicial operations for the County and the City of Tacoma. County administrative departments and Council would be relocated from many leased spaces to the purchased building.
- What is the timeline for the purchase?
The purchase is expected to close sometime in early fall.
- Which Pierce County departments will be moving to the new building if the sale is approved?
We expect the following groups and departments to move into the building in 2025:
- Risk Management
- Economic Development
- Human Resources
- Will this purchase impact any County leased spaces or employees located in other County owned/leased buildings?
The consolidation of County operations into this building will include moving out of other buildings that are currently leased.
- If the sale is finalized, will space planning details be available for Pierce County Staff?
A website for employees has been created so that project information and details can be shared on a timely basis.
- Several years ago, the County pursued a new administrative building. What is the difference with this approach?
The General Services Building proposal focused on combining all administrative functions into one location. The financing would require either additional taxes or the reduction of services to pay for the debt service. It did not address any justice-related activities.
The purchase of this building allows the County to free up space in the CCB for justice-related functions, without spending $80 million to $120 million on building a new facility. The building purchase would accelerate the remodels of three floors to further Justice Center services. Upon completion, the County would be able to consolidate some administrative services, while ending $1.9 million in annual lease payments in downtown Tacoma. All future operational expenses and bond debt can be covered by the retirement of leases and the retirement of two past bond issuances.
- Why is this a good idea?
The justice activities in the CCB currently are at maximum capacity. There are several functions that currently cannot occur since there is no space. The Courts expand based on population and Pierce County is currently not meeting the needs for the courts.
Purchasing a building saves time, money, and starts the improvements to the Justice Center on an expedited timeline. The timing of purchasing a building corresponds with a downturn in property values and retirement of existing bond debt which can be reallocated to pay for this property and necessary improvements. Additionally, this action saves between $30 million and $70 million and five years if the County were to construct a new building. This option can be funded without a tax increase or a reduction of existing services.