Milton plan loses energy
MILTON A plan to relocate most of the city of Milton's municipal offices into the former ANGI Energy Services building has fizzled, officials said.
On Tuesday, the Milton City Council summarily scrapped a conceptual plan to purchase and renovate the vacant, privately-owned Burdick building at Madison Avenue and Plumb Street and turn it into a city services center.
The move came after an independent study released this month showed it would cost at least $9.7 million to renovate the 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for city use, according to city records.
Those costs are well above estimates floated last year by architect Angus Young Associates in a study commissioned by the building's owner, Badger Property Investments.
At the time, the firm estimated it could cost between $6.5 million and $8.5 million for the city to buy and retrofit the building, according to city records.
Mayor Tom Chesmore told The Gazette it could have been feasible for the city to renovate the building for city use, but the costs to do so would be too great for the city to proceed.
"It was too expensive for renovations," Chesmore said. "There were a lot of things that could have been engineered around for us, but the initial final cost to renovate that building was just too much at this time for the city to handle."
The council's vote came unanimously and with no discussion following a short closed session. Before the vote, Chesmore moved for the city to end "all evaluation and investment" in the building.
The city hired RW Management group of Menasha earlier this year and paid the group $5,000 to analyze the feasibility of turning the Madison Avenue and Plumb Street site into City Hall, the police and fire departments, and the library.
The study showed the $9.7 million cost would be just to retrofit the building. Land acquisition and development probably put the total cost of the plan at $10 million to $12 million, Chesmore said.
"It's not feasible right now to be looking at that kind of cost," Chesmore said.
The Burdick plan would have been by far the most expensive facilities project the city has ever undertaken, officials said. By contrast, the recent construction of a public works facility cost the city $3 million.
The study also showed the building's proximity to railroad tracks and school would affect response times and create safety concerns for the fire department.
City Administrator Jerry Schuetz first pitched the idea of the city moving into the building in September 2011. He said it would solve a space crunch the city has at some of its municipal offices, such as the police department and the Milton Public Library, but it also was viewed as a way to put all city services under one roof.
At the time, ANGI Energy systems, the building's tenant, had announced it planned to relocate to a bigger building to expand its operations. The company eventually relocated to Janesville.
The council's decision to dump the Burdick plan signals a "long-term" commitment to keep City Hall at its current location at the Shaw building, 430 E. High St., Chesmore said. The council is discussing having city staff appoint a building committee to examine renovations at the Shaw building.
The city still hasn't decided what it'll do with space that opened up on the third floor of the Shaw building this spring when the school district central offices moved to another location, he said.
The city also is looking at near-term roof repairs at the police station, Chesmore said. It plans to examine a possible new fire department facility over the next five or six years.