City to spend $4.1M to ren­o­vate cop shop

The Niagara Falls Review - - FRONT PAGE - RAY SPITERI

The City of Ni­a­gara Falls will spend $4.1 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the for­mer Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice sta­tion on Mor­ri­son Street.

The project is in­cluded in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s 2017 cap­i­tal bud­get, which has been ap­proved by coun­cil.

The city pur­chased the for­mer cop shop late last year for the ask­ing price of $1.1 mil­lion.

Ni­a­gara Re­gion owned the prop­erty, which was de­clared sur­plus in Septem­ber af­ter po­lice op­er­a­tions re­lo­cated to the new $65-mil­lion head­quar­ters on Val­ley Way.

The city took pos­ses­sion of the build­ing Dec. 22 and is plan­ning ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions to change the lay­out from its for­mer use as a po­lice sta­tion to a space that func­tions as of­fices and meet­ing rooms for sev­eral city de­part­ments.

“Right now we’re look­ing at bor­row­ing (to pay for the ren­o­va­tions). That’s go­ing to be a future de­ci­sion (of coun­cil),” said fi­nance di­rec­tor Todd Har­ri­son.

“We’re go­ing to have some cost sav­ings be­cause we’re go­ing to have some leases that we aren’t go­ing to have to pay (any­more) and we’re go­ing to get some rev­enue from Ni­a­gara Re­gional Broad­band Net­work rent­ing space there, too.”

The city plans to move staff cur­rently oc­cu­py­ing rented space through­out Ni­a­gara Falls into the premises.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s small busi­ness of­fice on Queen Street, as well as staff cur­rently work­ing in the base­ment of city hall, would also move into the for­mer po­lice build­ing.

“City hall is pretty well full, it’s at its ca­pac­ity and the city, as is ev­i­denced by leas­ing space out­side the build­ing, we need ad­di­tional room, so from that per­spec­tive it’s go­ing to help the city, sim­ply by hav­ing a city-owned fa­cil­ity where we can house our staff,” said Har­ri­son.

“It’s a good mix with NRBN go­ing in there as well, and there might be other syn­er­gies that are com­ing down the road with hav­ing ad­di­tional park­ing and space be­tween the two build­ings in that area.”

He said NRBN is “anx­ious” to move into the build­ing.

NRBN is a lo­cal ser­vice provider of data and voice so­lu­tions and is cur­rently head­quar­tered in Grimsby.

“We want to ex­pe­dite this, but we also want to do it smart,” said Har­ri­son.

“We’re just put­ting to­gether a qual­i­fi­ca­tion ten­der for ar­chi­tects to be en­gaged and once we have that done then we’ll have a bet­ter idea of what they’re plan­ning.”

He said at this point, ren­o­va­tions are ex­pected to in­clude a new heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem, new roof and other struc­tural items, as well as work in­side the build­ing.

The build­ing at 4343 Mor­ri­son St. was con­structed in 1975 and housed po­lice in Ni­a­gara Falls since 1976. The build­ing is lo­cated on a 1,477-squareme­tre, 0.4-hectare prop­erty just be­hind city hall.

RAY SPITERI/NI­A­GARA FALLS RE­VIEW

The for­mer Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice sta­tion on Mor­ri­son Street will get a $4.1-mil­lion city ren­o­va­tion.

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