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Posted on: May 4, 2023

Pierce County to purchase a downtown Tacoma building and consolidate justice services

Pierce County today announced plans to acquire 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, it is one of the more modern and well-maintained buildings in downtown Tacoma. The agreed-to purchase price is $27,271,000.

“For several years we’ve explored ways to better serve the growing needs for those areas related to law and justice,” said Bruce Dammeier, County Executive. “Consolidating those operations allows us to serve residents more efficiently and effectively. At the same time, relocating administration functions currently scattered across several leased buildings into one location saves money and allows us to purchase a building in a favorable real estate market.”

At the direction of the County Executive, the 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. In addition, for several years a large number of administrative operations have relocated out of the CCB to make additional space.

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 City of Tacoma. County administrative departments and Council would be relocated to the purchased building.

The departments and functions expected to move into the newly purchased building include IT, Finance, Human Resources, Economic Development, Communications, Facilities, and Risk Management, as well as the Council and Executive teams.

The building purchase, subject to approval by the County Council, would be funded through a bond issuance. The current timeline expects the purchase to be complete in early fall of this year, with a full move in by 2025.

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