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BELLEVUE, WA-The Bellevue City Council remains interested in buying a Downtown office building owned by Qwest for $28 million and turning it into a new civic center at a cost of about $105 million.

How to finance the deal, and whether to go forward, is something officials have until the middle of next week to hash out and keep negotiations moving. Initially, the city manger, council members and other officials suggested the 298,000-sf telecommunications building located across from the Meydenbauer Center at 450 110th Ave. N.E. could be bought without raising property taxes. Instead of raising property taxes for the acquisition and renovation, GlobeSt.com reported in September the city was considering tapping reserve funds and revenue for future capital projects that could be delayed.

Up for consideration by council this week was a slightly different financing plan. City staffers have proposed paying for the bulk of venture with funds from sales and business taxes. But a portion — about 12% would come from the city’s reserve funds and roughly 9% would be generated by a slight property tax hike — about $10 a year for the average homeowner. The building is valued at nearly $58 million.

If a deal is struck, Qwest intends to lease back space until it has completed the relocation of several hundred workers to its 32-story office building located at 1600 Seventh Ave. in Downtown Seattle. Bellevue would use the Qwest building for consolidated police and fire headquarters and city departments.

The council will meet again later this month to decide whether it will pursue the transaction.

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