County receives proposals to sell courthouse, build new offices

By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

The Archuleta County commissioners are trying to work out a deal where they can sell the public building at 449 San Juan St. and also have the buyer build a new county building.

Currently, the Archuleta County assessor, clerk and recorder, treasurer, and Human Resources Department have offices in the downtown building the commissioners are trying to sell.

As of Tuesday, the county had received two bids to purchase the building, both of which have proposals for the buyer to construct a new county building as terms included in the sale.

The first bid, from the Foulkrod Family Trust (FFT), proposes the following terms:

• FFT will pay $150,000 to Archuleta County for the building at 449 San Juan St.

• Upon closing and title transfer of that building, Archuleta County shall lease the existing administrative offices for $500 per month.

• FFT will provide a 50-year land lease on about .75 acres on Hot Springs Boulevard and FFT will build a 6,800-square-foot office space for the county, with a total cost not to exceed $2.8 million.

• FFT will provide a 50-year building lease to Archuleta County for the new county building, and combined monthly lease payments for the land and building shall be $22,700.

• Archuleta County shall vacate the courthouse premises within 30 days upon the completion of the new office building on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The second bid, signed by OGI Inc. President Jack Searle, bid $479,000 for the building at 449 San Juan St., plus stipulations for constructing a new county building, which include:

• “… the buyer will lease-back to the County the space it currently occupies in the Courthouse at NNN lease rate of $0.75/sf/month for a period of up to 5 years, allowing time for the design and construction of the New County Building…”

• “Buyer owns land parcels on Hot Springs Blvd and in Harmon Park, immediately adjacent to the New Courthouse. Both parcels are adequate for the development of a new office building and Buyer will make the land parcel available for purchase or lease at either of the two locations for the development of the New County Building.”

• “The Buyer will build a new office building for the County. The County will contribute the Net Proceeds from the sale of the Courthouse toward the design and development of the New County Building and the Buyer will pay the remaining costs associated with design, development and construction of the New County Offices, designed in collaboration with the County.”

• “Lease. The Parties would enter into a long-term triple-net lease agreement in which the County would lease the New County Building from the Buyer at an annual lease rate of 8.00% of total development costs, less the Sale Proceeds contributed by the County … Further, the Build-to-Suit Lease would provide the County with the ability to buy-out the lease at an agreed upon price in the future, if the County so desired.”

The proposal also asks for $150,000 in fee waivers for dumping costs at the Archuleta County landfill and a waiver or abatement of the county’s portion of property taxes on the “Courthouse property” for 15 years.

In a phone call Wednesday, Commissioner Steve Wadley commented on the two proposals.

“I understand that it has to pencil for business people to make decisions, and I think in some ways they’re fair proposals, but the county cannot afford to do it,” he said. “And I knew this goin’ in and I certainly — nothing derogatory towards the people that put the proposals together, they were well thought out — but I don’t see any way the county can afford this.”

The Archuleta County commissioners are expected to discuss the proposals during executive session in the upcoming weeks.

This story was posted on September 1, 2020.