Pueblo County closed Thursday with the purchase of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Pueblo.
The building will be used as office space for employees and will help the district save the money that it is now spending on renting space.
“The acquisition of this property will dramatically improve our delivery of services to our citizens and the efficiency with which we deliver those services,” said Ortiz, commissioner for the Pueblo County Commissioner.
The 122,704-square-foot building, just two blocks from the District Court, was purchased for $ 5.5 million ($ 42.82 per square meter).
The county was able to negotiate the price of the building using a straw buyer, which Ortiz says is common not only for the county government but also for other professional associations.
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“This enables us to negotiate the lowest possible price for our taxpayers,” said Ortiz.
“It is rare for the county government to be able to buy property for more than $ 1 million below list price.”
The city and county originally intended to buy the building together and share the cost, but the county closed the property completely on Thursday alone.
The city council voted 5-2 on Monday to maintain the partnership with the district.
Councilor Mark Aliff told the Pueblo chief that Mayor Nick Gradisar “resigned from the deal and never closed”.
Ortiz didn’t comment on Thursday why. The mayor’s office did not respond to inquiries from the chief.
Ortiz said the county secured last-minute funding to proceed with the purchase.
“We were able to put our half in cash, as we originally planned, and we were able to fund the second half,” said Ortiz.
Funding for the first half of the year comes from the second 50% of the county’s marijuana excise tax.
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“This does not affect money used for student scholarships,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said the amount of debt it owed to the county to fund the second half of the building was negligible compared to the monthly rent the county pays for other facilities.
He said it was also negligible compared to the cost savings and efficiency the county will achieve by consolidating services, selling off-site buildings, and not paying rent to the private sector.
Ortiz assures taxpayers that the purchase will be positive for the Pueblo County government.
“We’re not giving out any money. This will be cash positive for Pueblo County. This is really important to me, ”he said.
Ortiz said that Pueblo County should own every building they do business in and that annual rent should not be paid.
The county currently pays more than $ 100,000 a year in rent.
One of the offices that can move into the building is the election department, for which the district is currently renting space.
“There are other options as we finish the floors,” Ortiz said.
The bottom floor of the building is to be used for all business approval processes from a single source. The Pueblo Community Development Task Force has been looking for space in the city center to optimize and provide a customer service center for solving and coordinating approval processes between the city and the county.
Ortiz said some district workers could be moving into the building in the next few weeks.
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“There are very few rooms where all the approval points around the routing trail can be housed in a single center that is also across from the regional building authority,” said Ortiz.
“Using the ground floor alone will do wonders for our community in terms of economic development and business development and retention in Pueblo County.”
Chief reporter Anthony A. Mestas can be reached by email at [email protected] or at twitter.com/mestas3517.