Bainbridge starts talks to buy Harrison building

Bainbridge Island city officials will begin negotiations with CHI Franciscan Health to purchase the company’s Bainbridge facility on Madison Avenue.

The Bainbridge city council agreed last week to give City Manager Doug Schulze the authority to pursue a “letter of intent” to buy CHI Fransican’s Harrison Bainbridge Urgent Care building, which the city hopes to turn into a new police station and municipal court.

City officials have not said how much they expect to spend to acquire the medical office building. Built in 2014, the building is 17,548 square feet in size and has a current market value of $2.6 million, according to the Kitsap County Assessor’s Office. The 3.02-acre site was purchased by CHI Franciscan Health in August 2013 for $1.75 million.

Schulze told the council last week that the letter of intent does not bind the city to a purchase of the property.

“It does not obligate the city to actual acquire the facility, at this point,” Schulze said.

Instead, it will start the process of negotiating a purchase agreement, and Schulze said the agreement would eventually be brought back to the council for final approval.

The Harrison site emerged as a front-runner as the preferred location for a new public safety building in March, after concerns were raised about another option, known as the Yaquina site, that sits between NE Yaquina Avenue and Madison Avenue North. That property is zoned for residential uses, however, so a conditional use permit would have been needed to build the new facility. The land also wasn’t served by the city sewer system, and officials put the cost of a sewer extension at $547,000.

Bainbridge has been looking at the Harrison building since late last year, following an unsolicited offer from CHI that suggested a potential retrofit of the building.

The city released revised figures last week of how much it may cost to renovate the medical building into a combination courthouse/police station.

The cost of the retrofit is expected to cost $9.5 million (in February 2020 dollars).

Councilwoman Rasham Nassar said she was skeptical of the prospects of turning the clinic into a public safety building, but changed her mind after a recent tour.

“Initially I was opposed to considering the Harrison site,” Nassar said.

Nassar said the renovations won’t be as extensive — or as expensive — as previously imagined.

“The building itself will remain a lot of the same,” she said, adding that some windows will need to be replaced for security reasons.

“Most of the work is on the interior,” Nassar said.

“I am in support of this; I am excited,” she said.

City staff and consultants have spent the past two months examining in greater detail how the building could be changed from a medical clinic to a combination court/police station.

The city’s consultants for the project have developed layouts of how the building will be split between its police and court functions, and city officials note that the building will be able to accommodate a larger staffing as the number of employees grows in the future.

There will not be room on the property for a gun range, officials added, and the retrofit will not include a dedicated space for a community meeting/multi-purpose training room. The court and the police station will also share a lobby in the building.

The Harrison site has the support of both Police Chief Matthew Hamner and Municipal Judge Sara L. McCulloch. The city’s current police station, on Winslow Way, is undersized and outdated, and the municipal court is located in a leased building in Rolling Bay.

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