Harrisburg is set to expand its office footprint, adding a new building in Midtown for city workers.
At a virtual legislative session, City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to allow the city to purchase the former M&T Bank building on N. 7th Street to transform into offices for its engineering and traffic departments.
“This is a space that is needed due to the requirement of additional space for the public works engineering department,” said council member Ben Allatt.
In November, council voted to reallocate 2020 funds to purchase the building for $375,000, which Mayor Eric Papenfuse touted as a good deal since it was appraised at $675,000.
Papenfuse said that the $300,000 reduction in purchase price constituted a donation by M&T to the city.
“We’re greatly thankful to M&T for their continued support,” he said.
The ATM machine currently at the building will remain on-site as part of a lease agreement with M&T Bank.
Papenfuse explained, at a council session in November, that, as part of PennDOT’s I-83 expansion project, part of the Department of Public Works building will be lost to eminent domain, requiring the traffic department to move. City Engineer Wayne Martin added that a growing public works department also necessitates more space.
The traffic department will likely share the building with the city’s engineering department, which is currently spread out among different office locations, Martin said. They will move many engineering employees out of the public safety building downtown, freeing up space for the community policing team, which is hiring for numerous new positions. Papenfuse said that this would also move them closer to Commissioner Thomas Carter’s office.
Renovations and remodels of the building are included in Harrisburg’s 2021 budget. It will likely cost around $192,000 for demolitions, renovations, HVAC replacement and security additions, among other items, Papenfuse said.
He estimated that the annual cost of utilities and maintenance for the building would be around $60,200.
Senior Deputy City Solicitor Tiffanie Baldock said that the city will close on the purchase of the building within a week.
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