Dick Schmidt / Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

A decorative fountain -- one of several around the Citrus Heights City Hall complex-- welcomes citizens to the Citrus Heights Police Services building.

Citrus Heights may get new city hall under medical office plan

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 - 8:13 am

Is a new city hall in Citrus Heights' future?

That's the scenario under a proposal for a medical office complex at Greenback Lane and Fountain Square Drive.

Panattoni Development Co. has submitted a plan to construct a three-story, 66,465-square-foot building on property that is part of Citrus Heights' civic center. City officials said the building is proposed to house medical offices for Dignity Health.

To make way for the project, all buildings on the civic center campus, except the Police Department building, would be demolished and a new, two-story city hall would be built north of the current location.

"The real heart of the project is the medical building," said Monica Alejandrez, assistant to the city manager. "It's a prime spot for them to put it on our campus. The byproduct, hopefully, will be to get a new city hall."

City officials have scheduled a community meeting for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers, 7117 Greenback Lane, to outline the proposal. After a brief presentation, city staff members and the developer will be available for questions.

Tim Schaedler of Panattoni Development said in an email that the firm does not comment on proposed projects but that he will be at the community meeting.

"We welcome Dignity Health's interest in our Citrus Heights project," he said.

In response to queries about the proposal, Dignity Health issued a written statement: "We are continuously looking at real estate opportunities throughout the community to meet our current and future space needs.

"We have specifically expressed interest in the Citrus Heights/Carmichael area given the current impacts on space that we have in that area. We look forward to seeing the evolution of the proposed project from Panattoni to see if there is an opportunity for collaboration on this in the future."

Citrus Heights incorporated in 1997 and transformed the former Fountain Square - once home to a nursery, rose garden, boutiques and restaurant - into its civic center, initially leasing the property, then purchasing it for $5.25 million in 2006.

Alejandrez said Panattoni Development approached the city with the project proposal, which includes a new 31,250-square-foot city hall. Costs are still being discussed, she said, but it is envisioned that revenue the city received from selling or leasing the property for the medical building would go toward the new city hall.

The four 36-year-old buildings, she said, are past their prime.

"We knew at some point we were going to have to do something because the buildings are so old," she said.

With wood rather than steel frames, they are showing their age and are expensive to maintain. A new building, Alejandrez said, could incorporate the latest energy-efficient features to help reduce utility and maintenance costs.

The square footage of the proposed city hall, which would be developed by Panattoni in conjunction with the medical office building, would be less than the 38,000 square feet encompassed by the current buildings. But much of that extra square footage is space once occupied by boutiques that didn't lend itself to city office needs, Alejandrez said.

The proposed city building would be between the medical office building and the Police Department, and city hall parking would be provided north of the Police Department, on what is now the city's corporation yard. Access to the site would be, as it is now, from Fountain Square Drive.

Alejandrez said the project review process, including assessments of traffic and other impacts related to the proposed development, likely would take four to six months.

If the project is approved, she said, 15 to 18 months would be required to demolish the existing buildings and construct the new ones.

She said efforts would be made to relocate city offices as close as possible to the civic center during the construction period.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke



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