County to start talks on new elections supervisor's office

In this file photo the Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter talks on the phone during early voting at the Supervisor of Elections Office at the County Administration Building on Saturday, October 27, 2012, in Gainesville, Florida. Today was the first day of early voting, which will continue through November 3rd from 8a.m. to 8p.m.

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:26 p.m.

Alachua County will soon start negotiating a deal for property on North Main Street that could, if the talks go well, become the Supervisor of Elections’ new office.

Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter has been asking for more space for years, and the county’s deadline to make the move is in the spring of 2015.

The County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize staff to negotiate with Nalbandian Properties LLC for the property at 515 N. Main St. The county is considering finding space in the building for the Property Appraiser’s office as well.

Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson said it is important for the county to get the building tied up soon so no one else can swoop in and get it.

“I have every confidence that this is a good deal. It’s the right place. It’s the right time. I believe we can sort out the money and the only issue left is to sort out who goes on what floor and what additions we need to make,” he said.

Commissioner Lee Pinkoson agreed this is a good step forward.

The county plans to negotiate a lease-to-purchase agreement, which would give it the flexibility to purchase the property at the outset or to buy it after leasing for several years.

Acting Assistant County Manager Michael Fay told The Sun the property, which totals about 24,000 square feet, used to be a bank. The property’s owner would expand the site to around 40,000 square feet. That expansion, which the owner would fund, may cost around $3.5 million.

Buying the building outright once the buildout is finished would cost about $5.75 million.

The county leases close to 42,000 square feet across multiple offices, including the Supervisor of Elections, at an annual cost of almost $543,000, Fay said. But if the county is able to move most of those operations into county-owned facilities rather than leased space, it could save $160,000 to $200,000 per year.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or

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