The City of Rotterdam has signed a 10-year lease to move City Hall operations from its current location at 1100 Sunrise Boulevard to the former KMart facility at ViaPort Rotterdam.
The lease, which was signed Nov. 2, states that the city will pay $8 per square foot for 50,000 square feet of space, which will be paid in 12 equal monthly installments.
“The city appreciates the strong working relationship it has built with Via Port over the years and was able to negotiate a lease that remains stable at $8 per square foot for the duration of the contract,” city officials said. in a statement emailed by The Martin. Group, the public relations firm hired by the city. “If someone else buys the property, the city will have a new owner.”
The city is expected to start paying rent once the area has been renovated. The target date for that is April 1, city officials said.
KMart closed in the mall in 2018, following news that parent company Sears had filed for bankruptcy.
The city began negotiations to lease the space in August. In July, the city announced that it had hired Albany engineering firm Barton & Loguidice for $32,000 to develop a reconfiguration plan for the 80,000 square foot facility.
A security deposit of $1 million will also be paid, according to the rental agreement.
The city said the $1 million deposit would be “invested in the necessary renovation and modernization of the space, including the improvement of the function of the court and the security of the police department and the court of justice.
The city would be responsible for utilities, according to the lease.
The city said it would also have the option of purchasing the space once construction is complete.
The move was a topic of recent conversation at a city council meeting on Monday.
Resident Sarah D’Elisis expressed her concern during the speaking privilege regarding the move, listing several issues to council, including rent and what happens to the town hall.
“That’s the only reason I came here tonight to get answers,” she said. “Thank goodness for Facebook and Facebook posts, otherwise we wouldn’t know what’s going on.
During that meeting, Assistant Supervisor Evan Christou spoke to D’Elisis but did not mention that the city had already signed a lease agreement.
“The call option will be exercised quite quickly,” he told the meeting.
He said City Hall currently has many issues to address, with repairs costing nearly $1 million.
“If you come into the supervisor’s office in a few months in the middle of winter, you’ll see about seven buckets because of the condition of the roof here,” Christou said.
The police and judicial space are also not adequate, he said.
“We have a courtroom the size of a sardine can,” he said.
Christou said they’d rather not spend $1 million fixing the building and it still couldn’t meet all of their needs.
D’Elisis said she couldn’t see the city spending less than $1 million on the ViaPort location.
Supervisor-elect Mollie Collins is against the move.
“I just don’t see the benefit,” she said on Friday.
She said the ViaPort is 33 years old and the facility has been vacant for a few years now.
“Buildings and homes usually deteriorate when people don’t live or work in them,” she said.
She also said the extent of the work required to upgrade the building to meet the city’s needs will be costly.
Collins plans to speak to the city attorney about the legal rights the city has once she takes office, she said.
Fuat Agsak, director of business development for ViaPort USA, could not be reached for comment.
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