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Felix Adamo

The Borton, Petrini, & Conron building at the corner of Truxtun Avenue and Eye Street becomes city of Bakersfield property today.

The Borton, Petrini & Conron building is officially owned by the city of Bakersfield effective today.

The $9.5 million purchase of the 55,000-square-foot building at 1600 Truxtun Ave. helps to consolidate city services downtown as the demand for them has skyrocketed along with population growth.

The purchase was unanimously approved by the City Council 30 days ago.

New City Hall

While the City Council, Planning Commission and other city commissions will continue to convene across the street, the Borton building will be the new City Hall in about five years.

The first move is planned for mid-January, and some of the tenants in the building may leave earlier than expected, facilitating the eventual moves of most of the city offices that receive the most foot traffic and public interaction.

The University of La Verne occupies the first floor of the five-story building, and is due for the most renovations, Public Works Director Raul Rojas said.

It's not that it's in disrepair, Rojas said, but that the classrooms on the first floor need modifications conducive to city business.

City Manager Alan Tandy said university officials are "leaning toward" not renewing their lease, which expires July 31, 2007. The university has an option on renewing the lease until July 31, 2012.

University officials will decide in early January, said Charles Bentley, public relations director of the University of La Verne.

Bring in the moving vans

One definite move will be done by Parsons Engineering and the Thomas Roads Improvement Program staff, which currently occupy parts of the third and fourth floors. Parsons is a consulting company hired by the city for the roads improvement program, a product of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars secured for Bakersfield roadways by retiring Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield.

The TRIP and Parsons will swap offices with the Community and Economic Development Department, which currently resides down the street at the Centennial Center Building at 900 Truxtun Ave. Fire Suppression Services, part of the Bakersfield Fire Department also housed at 900 Truxtun, will also move.

The move is scheduled for mid-January, Tandy said.

The other two tenants of the Borton building are Cornerstone Engineering on the fourth floor and Borton lawyers on the second and fifth floors.

The Cornerstone lease ends Nov. 30, 2008.

As part of the purchase deal made with Borton managing partner George Martin, Tandy said, Borton lawyers have two years to find a new home elsewhere.

Revenue, cost

City building inspectors and engineers have assessed the building and estimated repairs and renovation costs would be about $1.3 million. That cost will be offset, Tandy said, by savings from rented offices at 900 Truxtun and rent income from tenants at the Borton building.

Subtracting operating expenses of the new building, the city will receive more than $550,000 in 2007 from lease payments.

"We go from tenant to landlord," Tandy said.

The new building doesn't alleviate all of the city's space issues for its more than 1,400 employees, but the purchase of about one acre of parking directly north of the Borton building provides opportunity for further expansion.

A second, "twin" five-story building could be constructed where the Borton parking lot now sits, council members have suggested, to accommodate a growing city staff that serves a still-growing population.

What's where

Preliminary list of where city departments will be located when full move is complete:

Borton building: City manager, city clerk, city attorney, mayor, risk management, City Council, recreation & parks, economic and community development, finance

Current City Hall: human resources, information technology, fire suppression services, public works administration

Source: City of Bakersfield