City Hall begins moving into old Federal Building

Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz carries a box of belongings to his office at the new city hall in the old Federal Building at the corner of Yakima Street and South Chelan Avenue on Friday. A moving company is arriving Monday to transport furnishings and documents to the new city hall, which will be open to the public on Tuesday.

WENATCHEE — Frank Kuntz owes Steve King a beer.

The mayor and the city's economic development director had placed bets on when the City Hall move would take place. King said by the end of the year, but Kuntz was skeptical.

"I said, 'No way,'" Kuntz said. "He wins that one."

The mayor's already started taking some of his belongings to his new office on the third floor of the old Federal Building at the corner of South Chelan Avenue and Yakima Street. A moving company will arrive Monday, and the new City Hall will be open to the public Tuesday.

LocalTel Communications bought the 104,000-square-foot building last year for about $3.9 million and later offered to sell part of it to the city, which had also bid. City Council finalized the sale in May.

The city bought 46,636 square feet on the ground, second and third floors for $3.6 million. The total estimated cost for the purchase and remodel is $14.5 million, with the city issuing $12 million in bonds and using reserves for the rest.

Kuntz said the city has outgrown its current headquarters, 129 S. Chelan. That building has been around since the late 1960s and is about 7,000 square feet.

"Cities grow in 50 years, right?" Kuntz said.

He said the city couldn't sell the old building because police vehicles are parked in the basement. Instead, it'll lease it to the Social Security Administration, which will move there from the second floor of the LocalTel Building in about a year.

The city will then remodel the second floor space and lease it.

"There's other government entities that are looking for space," Kuntz said. "I'm sure there's other private entities that are looking for space. We'll find someone."

Wenatchee owns all of the second and third floors and two-thirds of the main floor in the LocalTel Building. The city and company will share control of the building 50-50.

Although the City Hall staff will work on the third floor for the next few years, eventually they'll all be on the main floor.

Kuntz said design for the main floor should be completed next year. Construction could start in mid-2020, and staff could move in by the end of 2021.

"As we expand, if we need to, we'll just go up into the second floor," he said. "We're going to be here for a long time."