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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Contact:
Meghan Porter, Public Information Supervisor, 360-490-0562 or email at Meghan.porter@co.thurston.wa.us  

Commissioners Vote to Lease Building for County General Government
General government operations will move to 3000 Pacific Avenue in April 2022

OLYMPIA – On October 5, the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted, in a 2-1 vote, to move forward with a lease of The Atrium at 3000 Pacific Avenue in Olympia to house the county’s general government operations pending legal confirmation the location meets the requirement set in statute for general operations to be located within the Olympia City limits. 

Today, the BoCC held an executive session to receive a legal opinion from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Legal opinion confirmed the location is within the boundaries required by statute. The BoCC followed the executive session and held a vote, 2-1, directing the county manager to sign the lease. This move will allow for county law and justice operations to increase capacity within the Courthouse Complex, creating a Law and Justice Center.  

The board directed County Manager Ramiro Chavez to sign a seven-year lease with the property owner of The Atrium, to begin April 1, 2022. The proposed 7-year escalation annual lease from $1.5 to $1.8 million, or $17.50 per square foot, and commits the county to seven years with an opportunity to extend the lease term by additional years. The current market value in Olympia for similar office buildings is between $24 and $27 per square foot. This savings will help the county save more than $4 million in taxpayer dollars per a seven-year term. 

“The intent of the move to this leased space isn’t a permanent solution to the needs of the county,” said County Manager, Ramiro Chavez. “This provides the county with an option to expand the much-needed space for the law and justice system and allows time for us to develop a more permanent solution for the Courthouse Complex.” 

After the commissioners voted to remove a ballot measure seeking to fund a $250 million courthouse and civic center project in downtown Olympia in early 2020, the commissioners directed the county manager to work on a plan to address the current space needs at the Courthouse Complex. In March, the county manager presented the board with a proposal to increase office space that included a leasing strategy and moving general government out of the Courthouse Complex.

The county has been working with the building owner and the building owners’ architect to develop a plan for tenant improvements to meet the needs of the offices and departments moving into the new space. 

Once general government operations move to The Atrium, the county will make improvements to the buildings on the Courthouse Complex to meet the needs of the offices and departments that make up the law and justice center. The proposed moves include: 

The Atrium (3000 Pacific Avenue, Olympia) General Government Building 
  • Board of County Commissioners, including Commissioner’s Chambers/Board Room
  • Assessor’s Office
  • Auditor’s Office
  • Treasurer’s Office
  • Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED)
  • Public Works Development Review
  • Public Health and Social Services Environmental Health Permit Review
  • Central Services Admin and Accounting
  • Board of Equalization
  • Information Technology
  • Geodata
  • Human Resources
Courthouse Complex (Law and Justice Center)
Building 1:
  • Clerk’s Office
  • Pre-Trial Services
  • Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (Criminal and Civil Divisions)
Building 2:
  • Superior Court
Building 3:
  • District Court
Building 4:
  • Public Defense 
  • Drug Court 
  • Resource Hub 
Buildings 5 & 6:
  • Sheriff’s Office   
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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3