LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – City officials are seeking to move Louisville Metro Police from its downtown headquarters, a building that has been plagued in recent years with water leaks and other plumbing problems while also housing a temporary jail.

Chris Poynter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said there are no preferred sites for a new building, although downtown and other parts of the city are being considered.

Metro government is likely to lease a building for the police headquarters, instead of owning the property, at a cost of “a couple million,” Poynter said.

The Courier-Journal first reported Wednesday afternoon the Fischer administration’s intent to find a new building for police, part of a $3.3 million budget request to the Metro Council.

Fischer declined to say in an interview with WDRB News in August whether police were looking to move from its offices at 633 W. Jefferson Street, but his facilities chief said it was possible.

“We have to decide what is the most fiscally responsible: Putting a lot of dollars into that building or looking for another building or even looking at one of our other buildings that we own,” Cathy Duncan, director of facilities for Louisville Metro government, said at the time.

Duncan told a Metro Council committee in May that the LMPD building needs $15 million in renovations; it is assessed for tax purposes at $436,800, according to the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator.

The 1950s-era jail inside police headquarters holds 126 inmates and has been opened and closed several times in recent years to handle overcrowding at Metro Corrections’ main jail. It lacks necessary fire-safety systems and has failed to meet state requirements for decades.

Inspectors with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet visited the LMPD building on July 27. That same day, the cabinet launched an investigation at one of Louisville’s “correctional institutions,” according to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration database. The state began a separate investigation at LMPD headquarters on August 11.

Both cases remain open.

Sources told WDRB News this summer that a leading candidate for a new LMPD building is the United Building at 600 S. 7th Street. An official with Horizon Commercial Realty, the building’s listing agent, did not respond to requests in August about the department’s interest in the property, which up for sale for $2.75 million.

The LMPD request is part of talks between the mayor’s office and the council over how to spend a $6.2 million surplus from increased revenues during the most recent fiscal year, Poynter said.

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