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SEATTLE-King County will spend $85 million to develop an office building on the site of a county garage adjacent to the King County Courthouse. The Metropolitan King County Council signed off on the plan Monday as an alternative to leasing office space.Council budget chairman Larry Gossett says the county now leases 271,000 sf of office space scattered in seven Downtown buildings at a cost that will surpass more than $4.8 million a year by 2007. By building its own space and vacating leased space the county will break even on the cash flow after about four years, and thereafter we will be saving money it would have paid out for rent, says Gossett. Council chairman Larry Phillips adds that when the mortgage for the new building is paid off in 28 years, the county will have saved more than $16 million in today’s dollars.The new office building will house employees working for public health, the prosecuting attorney, public defense, community and human services, finance, information and technology services and the county print shop. Those employees and agencies are currently spread out among the Exchange Building, Key Tower, the Bank of California Building, the Wells Fargo Building, the Greybar Building, the Walthew Building and 1916 Boren. The new facility will be a “green” building, meaning recycled energy-efficient materials will be used in its construction. Further savings will be generated through the construction of a central hot water system that also will serve the courthouse, administration building, and county jail. The council formally adopted the policy to transition from leased space to owned space with the adoption of the “2002 Space Plan.” In December 2003 the King County Council hired the Staubach Co. to conduct an independent review of the “Alternatives to Reliance on Leased Space” report. Staubach concurred that it is in the county’s best interest to transition from leased to county-owned property.

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