As part of its city hall relocation effort, University Place recently contracted with AustinCina Architects to design and plan the interior layout for the upper two floors inside the UP Civic and Library Building, also known as Town Center, a.k.a. The Village at Chambers Day. The interior design work will detail all spaces that will eventually accommodate U.P. City Hall, including council member offices and the council chambers.
That's according to City Manager Steve Sugg, whose office is inside the current city hall/Windmill Village complex at 3715 Bridgeport Way W. Sugg also said that once the design work for relocation is completed, the city will decide when to start collecting bids for constructing the interior layout according to those plans.
Ever since 1999, when the city of University Place adopted the Town Center Plan to redevelop the central business area and relocate its city hall, the changes around downtown seemed to happen slowly, thanks in part to the global economic crisis of 2008. While the police department relocated to the U.P. Civic and Library Building (3609 Market Place W.) three years ago, additional construction is now transpiring there once again.
According to Sugg, current construction efforts focus on erecting two new retail buildings with an additional 17,000 square feet, and then there’s also a new mixed-use building being constructed across the street, which will include 10,000 square feet of retail space as well as 125 new housing units.
"It is our hope that the success of this redevelopment will spark redevelopment at other sites with the Town Center zone and throughout the city,” Sugg said.
Yet folks have been wondering when U.P. City Hall will relocate from the old Windmill Village site and whisperings are that it will be at least another nine months for the planning phase to be done and no bids can be accepted before that effort is complete.
Meanwhile, keeping to the objectives laid out in the Town Center Plan, Sugg said that when the new construction does happen, it will address item number four on the list of six objectives, which is to enhance public security.
"We expect the new space to be safer as it is in a modern facility, built in accordance with the most current and updated codes," Sugg said. "The footprint of the Civic Building, being a multi-story, is substantially smaller than the three acres upon which the current city hall resides, which will be freed up and sold for private development.
"The combination of the regional library and city hall in one centralized, multi-story building was driven by the city’s desire to promote business growth through redevelopment of the city’s Town Center properties," said Sugg.
"It has long been the city’s plan to develop additional tax-generating uses within a walkable, urban setting at the center of the city. And that effort is well underway.”