Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
More on the Vakos deal
County officials are confident they made the best deal for a new government office at Courthouse Village.
Today I spoke with several different people about the 7-0 vote and the other offers, including one from the owner of the Capital One building that the county currently occupies. First, let it be known, that neither of those buildings is full and they’ve had empty space for quite some time. Also, keep in mind that the county, even in its most-busiest times, never used more than 43,000 square feet at Capital One.
The county’s campus master plan has always shown that it is a goal to bring community services and social services back to the courthouse area. That benefits the residents, who can all go to basically one place for services and it benefits overall management. Those are basic points told to me. But there is more.
The county does have full intention of purchasing the entire Vakos building and they will have five years to do it once they move in. You can read the lease agreement here. Here is the comprehensive agreement. Here is the option to buy agreement.
Community services gets free rent for a year. The state pays 40 percent of social services rent.
I was assured by several county officials that the intention IS to retain leases from other businesses on the first floor to offset the costs of any purchase. They will be bound to the lease agreements that Vakos signs, and that could be many years before the county could ever have the chance of using all 56,000 square feet, something they’ve never had to do with those two departments.
VACorrespondent uses a "0" for lease revenue if the county bought the building. That’s inaccurate. At some point, the county could decide to use the entire building, but it’s not in the near future. The county will not need all 56,000 square feet in 2010. That’s not accurate either.
Also, note that the county is already in the landlord business. It owns a little strip of space at the rest stop exit, where the Civil War Life Museum is. This is not new territory for the county.
No other company offered a free lease for a year. The county cannot afford to buy any building at this time, so the five-year option is a benefit, they said.
Although the PPEA process is not as open as a typical bid project, and I do not have access to what the other companies offered, I have been assured that this was the best deal. Is that good enough? Maybe not. I can try to FOIA the other proposals and do my own analysis, but it sounds like a fishing expedition to me.