Beaufort County to purchase Bluffton Parkway office building

achristnovish@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 13, 2012 

  • Also on Monday, the County Council took the following action:

  • Decided private communities should be responsible for any expenses FEMA will not reimburse for debris cleanup after a disaster. Depending on the disaster and aid the county receives, private communities would pay up to 25 percent, depending upon how much FEMA reimburses.

  • Denied a rezoning request for 8.3 acres at the intersection of Rug Rack, Laurel Bay and Joe Frazier roads in Port Royal in a 7-4 vote. The applicant wanted to rezone from rural transitional overlay to a commercial suburban district.

After more than a year of searching for a new Bluffton headquarters, Beaufort County has decided to stay in an office building on Bluffton Parkway.

Instead of signing a five-year lease to continue occupying those offices, though, the county plans to buy the building to save money in the future.

A resolution introduced Monday by county administrator Gary Kubic to buy the 22,244-square-foot building for $3.6 million was approved unanimously by the County Council. The purchase would also include 6.1 acres of open land.

The property, owned by Myrtle Plantation Partnership LLC, was appraised at $4.1 million last year, Kubic said, but the county negotiated the lower price.

"It allows us to retain a very well-built facility and gives us the opportunity to expand in the future," Kubic said.

If the county finances the purchase by issuing bonds, it will begin paying for itself in eight years, said the county's chief financial officer, David Starkey.

"Your interest would be less than what your rental would be in that process," Starkey said.

If it continued the lease, the county would have expected, rent, taxes and maintenance to cost of about $322,681 a year and projected rent to continue to rise annually.

The county started to search for a cheaper option about a year and a half ago. After soliciting bids and estimating what constructing a new building would cost, the county determined the current location was the best fit in terms of space, convenience and location.

The purchase will likely be completed in 10 weeks; it requires a public hearing and subsequent votes by County Council.

Related Content:

County offered more than a dozen Bluffton office options, Oct. 26, 2011

Beaufort County policy would help clear hurricane debris from private communities, Jan. 24, 2012

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