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The Lake News Online
  • City's new home ready

  • The real estate deal between the City of Laurie and the Bank of Versailles to establish city hall at a new location is moving nearer to closing this week.
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  • The real estate deal between the City of Laurie and the Bank of Versailles to establish city hall at a new location is moving nearer to closing this week.
    Mayor Herb Keck met with bank officials Tuesday to go over final figures which are scheduled to be reported to the board of aldermen at a special meeting Wednesday evening. The board is expected to authorize Keck to sign the closing papers when they're ready.
    City officials did a walk through of the renovation of the lower level of the Re/Max office building on Monday. The remodel is mostly complete with just a small punch list of items that contractors are working on.
    City offices will move to the new location on Nov. 5 and 6. The phone lines are scheduled to be transferred on Nov. 6.
    The board approved moving forward with the deal to purchase the office building, located on Main St. next to Sonic Drive-In, from the Bank of Versailles in May.
    While City Hall offices, meeting space and the police department will be housed in the previously empty lower level of the building, the city will continue to rent out the top floor where Re/Max offices are currently located.
    The lower level is accessed from the back of the building.
    Remodeling of the lower level was undertaken by the Bank of Versailles with input from the city, but the costs will be passed on to the city in the final closing price.
    There will be two main areas of City Hall in the lower level space. On one side will be the municipal court room that will also serve as the meeting space and community room. There is also a fully equipped kitchen at the back of this area and bathrooms. The police department will be located on the other side as well as individual offices.
    Keck has previously estimated the cost for the building, renovation and move would be around $500,000 in cash.
    When the deal was approved in May, the city agreed to pay $350,000 cash out of reserves for the building and sign over the current city hall building, located on the north side of town next to Bryant's Osage Outdoors, to the bank.
    An appraisal of the Re/Max building in the last year estimated a value of approximately $1.6 million, according to Keck. The building is more than 16,000 square feet total with each level providing about 8,000 square feet of space.
    With rent from the upper level, Keck said the city will be able to pay back the reserve fund in approximately 10 years.
    The property does not include highway frontage. The front part of the site along Main St. has been sold to a developer.
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