COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Columbus Council is facing a $50 million decision Tuesday night.
It involves the proposed purchase of the downtown Synovus complex for general government offices.
Though it was just made public three days ago by the city and Synovus, this deal has been in the works for six months. And it is one piece of a larger puzzle to tear down and replace the Government Center.
The Government Center houses courts and general city offices such as the mayor, city manager and finance department.
“We have to replace the judicial building, as well,” Mayor Skip Henderson said. “That is the reason for looking for an existing location that would really help us save money for the citizens for general government.”
If the Council agrees to spend the $50 million to buy and renovate the Synovus buildings along Broadway, 12th Street and First Avenue, it will be the first move to doing away with the current Government Center, which has been in use for nearly 50 years.
But first, there has to be a place to move the courts and judicial operations.
“The intention right now is to construct a judicial building,”
Henderson said Monday. “The option that the council has expressed an interest in is building it on this existing site. And continuing to operate the courts in the tower now to save on relocation expenses and temporary places for them to go. And once that structure is completed, they will demo the tower.”
That could take three to five years.
One of the reasons the Synovus property is attractive is the 634-space parking deck that will come in the deal.
“Any place we go, we got to make sure we got some parking available,” Henderson said. “And to be able to identify a location that already has the parking garage intact, I mean it literally saves us about $15 million dollars.”
Council will have to vote on two resolutions tomorrow night. The first will be to acquire the Synovus property. The second will be a $50 million bond issue to finance the purchase and renovation.