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Third Street building a possible option for city’s government

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette The Sovereign Bank building has been bought by the county which plans on keeping on the existing tenants, but expanding some if its offices to the building.

A former bank building on West Third Street has more than enough space on two floors to be selected as a relocation of offices in City Hall.

As part of discussion by City Council’s City Hall Building Ad Hoc Committee, Councilman Vincent Pulizzi said he toured the former Santander Bank building to do research.

“Executive Plaza has one suite in the building,” Pulizzi said. “What interested me was the Third Street Plaza building.”

There are floors used by the county but Pulizzi said he liked the idea of street level and easily accessible offices.

There would be space for a codes and tax department, he said.

“Those are two departments where a majority of traffic in City Hall go into and out of,” he said.

The space upstairs is vacant and is about 23,000 square foot of open room, according to Pulizzi.

Half of the room used to be occupied by law offices.

The next step could be to acquire floor plans for the Third Street building and look at what is used at City Hall to see if they fit into plans for the Third Street plaza, Pulizzi said.

The fifth floor of the building is 23,000 square feet and could accommodate a nearly open floor plan, he said.

Should a sectioning off of departments be needed, the city could use partitions, he said. The city could easily construct a layout that would be most beneficial for administration and done rather inexpensively, he said.

“It has a ton of space, with room to grow,” Pulizzi said. “I like the option, if you decide to grow,” he said, adding the city could work more closely with the county and be in the same building with some of its offices.

The committee is looking at the feasibility of remaining in City Hall, costs to relocate to Trade and Transit Centre I or II or find a suitable building to use.

The building, which is only being reviewed as a potential location for city government offices, is on West Third Street across from the Lycoming County Courthouse and is used by county employees. Office space is available.

The central business district location works for parking needs and it is accommodating for accessible requirements.

The parking needs for daily use would be just under 60, according to Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.

In conditions when there is a full house at council meetings, that need will increase to as much as 70, Gerardi said.

Councilman Adam Yoder, chair of the ad hoc committee, said for the option of renovating City Hall includes a review of drawings and studies done.

“We are going through prior studies and validating the scope that was identified and the pricing to see if it is accurate,” Yoder said.

Regarding the possible relocation to either of the transit buildings downtown, the city administration reached out to Teresa Sparacino, of Delta Development Group.

Sparacino told the administration that a lease agreement with River Valley Transit, owners of the buildings, would be potentially feasible, Councilwoman Liz Miele said.

Extra space in either of the two buildings is available, however, purchase options are more of a gray area, Miele said she was told by Sparacino.

“I feel strongly that a city government shouldn’t be leasing space,” Miele said.

Additionally, inside the transit I facility is the Community Theatre League which leases the space. Because of this, the city does not have a lot of first floor space should the city choose to relocate in that building, Miele said.

As part of the research, the committee is expected to take a look at the spacial requirements of various departments in City Hall.

Such review could determine whether the offices can be condensed and if there is a plan to reduce space by putting certain records into a digital format.

Previously, Anthony Visco Architects performed a spacial study of the building and provides a breakdown of department use, Gerardi said.

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