On a 4-3 split vote, the Bainbridge Island City Council agreed Tuesday to buy CHI Franciscan’s medical clinic building on Madison Avenue so it can be converted into a new police station and municipal court.
The city signed a “letter of intent” with Harrison Medical Center for the building and the
3.3-acre property on Jan. 29. The city will pay $8.975 million in cash for the property upon closing of the deal.
Officials with Harrison Medical Center signed a 21-page agreement to sell the building that houses its urgent care facility on Bainbridge earlier this month.
“This is a pretty significant milestone for us,” City Manager Morgan Smith said of the property purchase.
The new police station is a critical need for the city, she added.
The current police station, located on Winslow Way, is too small, unsafe and at the end of its useful life, Smith noted.
The layout of the medical building will work well, she said, but added the facility will need to be retrofitted to meet essential building requirements.
The project, including the purchase, is budgeted at $20 million.
The purchase will leave approximately $11 million for renovations.
“We think we can get it done. I’m sure there will be some hard choices ahead of us,” Smith said.
The building can also be expanded in the future by a two-story addition, with 8,000 square feet of additional, if needed, Smith said.
Mayor Kol Medina said it wasn’t a perfect solution, but the best that Bainbridge could get.
Councilman Ron Peltier continued his opposition to the purchase at Tuesday’s meeting.
Peltier said the building was not put in a good location as a medical facility.
“I think we’re bailing them out and they’re charging us too much,” he said.
Councilman Joe Deets also balked at the price tag for the property.
“I feel we’re paying too much for it,” Deets said.
Appraisals for the property done on the city’s behalf put the value of the building lower than the price the city has agreed to pay for it.
One appraisal, conducted for CHI Franciscan, put the value at $9.7 million.
Three other appraisals done on the city’s behalf appraised the property between $7.52 million and $8.5 million.
Councilwoman Sarah Blossom, however, noted the Harrison site was the most cost-effective option available to the city.
“I’m very supportive of this,” Blossom said.
Councilman Matthew Tirman said the site isn’t ideal, but noted that talk about a new police station on Bainbridge has stretched back to 2001 or so.
Previous estimates for a new public safety building have been as high as $35 million, he noted.
“We’re now at $20 million for a site,” he said.
“There’s been punting; there’s been indecision,” Tirman added. “I think we’re at the point now where it’s time to make a decision. It’s time to live up to our top priority.”
The land at 8804 Madison Ave. was purchased by CHI Franciscan in August 2013 for $1.75 million and the medical center building was built in 2014. The Harrison Bainbridge Urgent Care building is 17,548 square feet in size.
The property has a current market value of $2.6 million, according to the Kitsap County Assessor’s Office.
According to the purchase-and-sale agreement, the city will conduct a “feasibility study” on the property on (or before) 60 days from the effective date of the agreement. The city will have the right to extend the feasibility study period by 15 days by giving written notice to the seller.
The city will also have the right to terminate the agreement if the city determines the property will not be suitable for a police station/municipal court.
The agreement also notes that CHI Franciscan “will diligently pursue the permits with the city of Bainbridge Island for and the construction of premises in which to relocate its medical practice.”