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Bothell to break ground on new City Hall Sept. 3

The current Bothell City Hall was built in 1939. - Sarah Kehoe, Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
The current Bothell City Hall was built in 1939.
— image credit: Sarah Kehoe, Bothell/Kenmore Reporter

The City of Bothell will celebrate the construction of its new city hall at a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 3.

A signature project in Bothell’s ambitious vision for its downtown revitalization, the new City Hall will be part of a vibrant, multi-use block known as the “City Center.” The development team is led by City Investors Development, an affiliate of Vulcan Real Estate.

“This is an historic moment for Bothell, one that has followed over a decade of public discussion,” Bothell mayor Joshua Freed said. “Bothell citizens can be proud that their vision is a success."

Located in the heart of Bothell’s downtown, the City Hall and multi-use campus is a key element of the city’s downtown revitalization plan that has already attracted more than $200 million in private investment and is expected to stimulate an additional $450 million in private investment during the coming years.

"Their vision re-imagined Bothell’s historic downtown in a way that would stimulate economic growth and ensure a revitalized downtown reflective of the values and fabric of their community, for current and future generations," Freed said. "The City Hall is an important piece of that vision.”

The vote for a new City Hall by the Bothell City Council was 5-2. The majority of the council felt the new building was necessary, but many people, including Councilwoman Tris Samberg, took issue with the cost. The total bond issuance is estimated at $53 million, which includes total project costs plus applicable financing and transaction costs.

"The total price tag is significantly higher than the $42 million we were talking about back in 2011 and I am disappointed in that," Samberg told the Reporter when the measure was passed through Council. "The first time the council and the public saw that $53 million price tag was at our June 3 meeting and it was shocking."

City Manager Bob Stowe said the increase in the final cost of the building is simply a result of an increase in cost and labor over time.

"We worked very hard with the members on our development team to make the price tag as low as possible," Stowe said. "We aren't here to build the Taj Mahal, our goal is to build a basic office building that will be an asset to our community and last us 75 years."

Stowe said bonds for the City Hall project received an interest rate and annual payments significantly lower than what was originally presented in June 2014, reducing the financing period by six years. The strong credit rating Standard & Poor's assigned to the bond issue (AA) provided not only a means to decrease the term of the financing period, which significantly reduces the overall cost of the project by more than $23 million.

“It is Bothell’s prudent fiscal policies and smart investments that have made it possible to move forward with the City Hall project,” said John Finke, senior program manager at National Development Council. “We’re proud to be a partner in this exciting project.”

Working with the National Development Council, the city of Bothell is facilitating the City Hall development financing through a lease/leaseback financing structure using 63-20 Bonds, a form of tax exempt bonds. Upon substantial completion of the project the facilitating non-profit, National Development Council, will leaseback the City Hall project to the city of Bothell. Ownership of the City Hall will transfer to the city at no additional cost when the lease (debt) payments are fully paid.

The new City Hall replaces the current building that was built in 1938 at a time when Bothell’s population was approximately 800 people. Bothell’s current population is 41,500. The mixed-use gathering place includes a three-story, 251-car parking structure beneath a 53,000 square foot office building and town hall/community meeting rooms and will be constructed with a target of LEED Gold. The development team led by City Investors Development, an affiliate of Vulcan Inc., includes Miller Hull and GLY Construction.

“It’s an honor to be Bothell’s development partner on such a significant project.” said Ada Healey, vice president of Vulcan Real Estate. “We look forward to delivering a highly sustainable and cost-effective building that will best meet the needs of the city of Bothell and its residents for years to come.”

The ceremony will be held at 18305 101st Ave. NE in Bothell.

For more information, visit www.ci.bothell.wa.us.

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