The county hopes to have the facility ready for occupancy by theend of 2001, at which time it will vacate some 15,000 sf of leasedoffice space at various locations around Astoria. The building willhouse the departments of assessment and taxation, communityaffairs, central services, planning and development, health andhuman services and the county manager's office. Moving thosedepartments to the armory will ultimately save the county about$100,000 a year in lease payments, Bud Kramer, interim countymanager, tells GlobeSt.

The building also includes indoor parking space in the basementfor 48 vehicles, as well as additional off-street parking. As anextra bonus, the county will be able to use the armory'sammunitions storage room as a records vault. The county hadbudgeted $100,000 to build a new vault. Funds for the purchase andrenovation will come from a special projects fund the countycreated for the acquisition or construction of new county officespace.

The purchase has all the basic contingencies, such as anengineer's inspection this week to confirm its readiness for thesecond floor and all the necessary building approvals to make ithappen. The county will have to get a conditional use permit, andpass through both historical and design reviews. The facility wasbuilt in 1942 to house the local unit of the Oregon National Guard."We considered the revitalization of the city and figured thiswould essentially work as eastern anchor for Downtown Astoria,"says Kramer.

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