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SEATTLE-King County could say bye-bye to leased space and even have a little room to grow if it follows through with plans to build 250,000 sf of office space Downtown over the next few years.

The proposed site at Fifth and Jefferson, just south of the county jail and near other county facilities. Three of the parcels there are owned by the count y. The other is owned by developer Martin Selig.

An office building isn’t the only thing that could be built on the site. There also has been talk of developing a co-generation plant on the property that would provide power to the jail as well as the nearby Harborview Medical Center. There is likely room for both projects. Talk of the office project came up at a recent budget committee meeting that included a report stating that building new office space would be more cost-effective in the long run than buying or leasing.

The county estimates the office project would cost between $83 million and $90 million, depending on the number of parking stalls. Buying other office space that meets the county’s needs, according to the report, would run the county between $90-million and $106-million.

The various offices of the King County government occupy approximately 1.3 million sf in Downtown Seattle. About 300,000 sf of that is leased. Some committee members think the number should be closer to 10%, not 30%. The county estimates it will otherwise end up paying an additional $3.5 million per year on pending lease renewals.

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