City of Lacombe will be negotiating a lease to allow Alberta Health Services to remain at the former provincial building while the city determines the future of the 48-year-old building.
The city bought the building at 5104 50th Ave. for about $1 million earlier this year to secure a choice piece of real estate in downtown.
Mayor Steve Christie said the city doesn’t take possession of the building until March. Some tenants have moved out and AHS, which occupies five per cent of the building, has been diligently trying to find a new location for its offices.
“We might as well take 2017 and do some looking into what the best and highest use for that building would be and see if it would suit some other user groups and other alternatives for city hall,” Christie said.
There is no provision in the city’s 10-year capital plan or 2017 budget to start renovations or removal of the building.
He said the municipal development and downtown redevelopment plans identify the need for more foot traffic in the downtown and helped convince the city to purchase the building.
The entire second floor of the two-storey building has been vacant.
“With other communities, and with our own community as well, commercial development areas tend to be around the outskirts. To keep your downtown viable, you need to have foot traffic, you need to have people down there and working down there every day,” Christie said.
City council decided not to relocate civic offices to the provincial building in the short term, and instead concentrate on a full analysis of the building.
The old police building will be used for storage for a number of city departments while a facility use review is completed in 2017.
In the interim, Lacombe Fire Department will take over the garage bays at the former police station to store equipment and vehicles. Lacombe Emergency Management will use the upstairs to store communications and emergency operations centre supplies. Lower spaces will be used to store excess computer equipment.