LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A city consultant has recommended Metro government raze the Louisville Metro Police headquarters and the nearby Fiscal Court building, citing their poor condition and renovation costs that exceed $60 million.
EOP Architects presented the findings from a study of the two downtown buildings to the Metro Council’s budget committee Tuesday. Richard Polk, a partner in the firm, said both buildings ought to be demolished and replaced with new construction.
The firm’s report concluded that the buildings both have numerous code and “life-safety” violations. In the case of the police headquarters, Polk said, water damage on the third floor may have compromised structural elements.
“Virtually everything is antiquated and subpar,” he told council members. His firm is recommending the city use a “public-private partnership” to finance replacement facilities.
The committee did not take action.
“How you finance the building is down the road,” said Bill Hollander, D-9th District, the budget committee’s chair. “First, I think we need to think about what kind of building we want and where we want to have it
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said last week that his proposed $624 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes funding to move LMPD’s police crime scene unit and crime information center from the headquarters at Seventh and Jefferson streets, leaving only Chief Steve Conrad’s office and administrative staff.
LMPD has been moving units from the building, which also includes a temporary jail used when Metro Corrections needs extra space. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet fined the city $1,950 during an investigation into water leaks and other conditions in the building, but the penalty eventually was lowered to $1,000.
City leaders have sought to move the police department from the aging headquarters building for years.
Cathy Duncan, Metro government’s facilities director, told council members in May 2016 that the LMPD building needed $15 million in renovations. Months later, she said in an interview with WDRB that the Fischer administration needed to decide whether to renovate the existing building, build a new one or lease space.
The United Building at Seventh and Chestnut Streets was floated as one option for rental space. Fischer proposed spending $1.8 million to lease a new headquarters last year, but the council removed the money from its budget after some members questioned that plan.
The council last fall introduced, but did not pass, a bipartisan ordinance that would have postponed voting on funding major projects until it received a proposal for a “new or significantly improved” headquarters.
It later approved a measure asking Fischer to present a study on LMPD headquarters and other city facilities by April 15 so that the findings could be incorporated into the budget proposal.
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