Back in 2007, city leaders purchased the building at 400 East Main Street to serve as Stockton’s new city hall. Nearly seven years later, the city will finally move into the building, but under remarkably different circumstances.
As part of Stockton’s plan of adjustment for exiting bankruptcy, Stockton city hall offices will lease 65,000 square feet in 400 East Main Street in 2014, pending confirmation of the plan in the spring. The lease will be for “8-12 years” at an “advantageous rate” for the city. Details of this agreement were revealed at the October 3rd city council meeting.
400 East Main—formerly known as the Washington Mutual Building– was originally purchased by the city in 2007 for $41 million to serve as a new city hall. However, due to the city’s financial difficulties, control of the building was given to Assured Guaranty Corp in 2012. With this new deal, the city agrees to release the title of the building to Assured in exchange for leasing space back to Stockton and forgiving the city’s outstanding debt. In theory, having the city lease space in 400 East Main would make it easier for Assured to sell the property as a higher occupancy rate makes it more attractive to potential buyers.
For city officials, this move has been long in the making. In December of 2012, the city announced that it was looking to move its offices out of the current city hall, issuing a request for information (RFI) for local property owners. Several property owners submitted proposals, including downtown mainstay Cort Companies, which offered space at 343 East Main Street.
It is unclear what will become of Stockton’s current city hall at 425 North El Dorado Street. Built in 1926, the Stockton icon is showing its age, as the cost of maintaining the building has become too much for the city to undertake. Costly renovations are needed to keep city hall in respectable shape, including new heating and air conditioning as well as upgraded rest rooms and conference rooms, among other things.
The details of the move to 400 East Main are still forthcoming and will not be finalized until the city’s plan of adjustment is confirmed in the spring. The city’s IT department is currently located in the building.