City of Aspen Debates Renting or Buying Temporary Office Space

Commercial space for rent

According to one study, five factors have a direct relationship with employee productivity: spacial arrangements, furniture, noise, lighting, and temperature. Right now employees of the city of Aspen are just looking for a place with a roof to work in. The city is trying to find temporary office space for their building and engineering departments after the building they’re currently housed is going to be torn down, according to the local news source

The building in which the departments were previously located was sold in 2014 to developer Mark Hunt. He filed a land-use application this month in which he has proposed to tear down the existing building and replace it with new office space for rent and retail property.

While the city has plans in the works to build their own office buildings on property they own, that won’t happen until 2018 at the earliest and possibly closer to 2021. That project would be a 52,000 square-foot campus that would be constructed around the Galena Plaza. Residents will vote on components of that proposal in November.

In the meantime, they need a place to put the displaced departments. A 4,800 square foot office on North Mill Street is the location they’re currently looking at. They are considering whether they want to buy or rent the temporary office space. Office space rentals in that building would cost them about $1.7 million per year or $5.2 million to buy outright. Approximately 80% of the costs of space are operational and lease so it could save them in the long-run to buy, but opinions are split as to which is the right choice.

Many have suggested buying the property and then selling it in a couple years once their offices are finished would save money since they could get most if not all of it back. Adam Frisch, a city councilman, warned that the market could tank or they might not be a buyer.

Ann Mullins is another councilwoman who wants to lease office space in the meantime saying it would be a “hard story to tell” the public if they ask for another $5 million on temporary office space on top of the $50 million for the proposed future project.

More research, meetings, and ultimately decisions will be made in the process, but for now they have until March before they’re kicked out of their current executive office space. One of the benefits of renting temporary office space is that the terms are flexible meaning the city could stay for as long as they needed and even extend their stay or get out when they’re finished with their permanent space.

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