The Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday unanimously approved site and landscape plans and elevations for a new downtown public safety facility, just south of the existing police department and east of the library.
A date for the start of construction is not yet final.
The $25.4 million facility will be located on approximately three acres north and east of the northeast corner of West Bowlin and North White and Parker roads.
The 32,000 square foot building was originally slated to be across town, adjacent to the Pinal County complex at Garvey Road and Wilson Avenue.
A city news release said that as the city moves away from John Wayne Parkway, the new location would place officers in a more central location to respond to emergencies.
The city added that it incurred no additional cost in moving the facility. The original design of the building will be used.
Deputy City Manager Benjamin Bitter said the decision was made with economic forces in mind.
“As has been well documented in the news, rising construction costs have altered or even halted many construction projects across the country,” Bitter said. “In fact, ADOT recently released information indicating that construction costs have increased over 31% in the last year and 189% since 2016. These market forces have also impacted this project and we led them to examine all viable options before proceeding with construction. ”
Bitter added that as the design plans were being finalized, the projected cost of the building continued to rise.
“To continue would have meant either increased cost to taxpayers or reduced design,” Bitter said. “City Council and staff were determined to avoid both of these options and took on the challenge of finding another way to add value to the project, including finding a new location that could minimize some of the project’s costs.”
The previous site was in preparation for development, and this work has now prepared it for sale. No project-specific work was done there. The property still meets the city’s organizational goal of being a catalyst for redevelopment in the heritage district, while providing the city with revenue that can help offset project cost increases that have been realized due to market forces.
The new police building will be four times larger than the existing police facility and will contain a 9-1-1 call center, meeting the city’s needs for years to come.
“We estimate the new building will meet the needs of Maricopa residents until the city reaches a population of 150,000 to 200,000 people,” the city’s statement said.
City staff pointed out that funding for the $25 million project comes from a combination of its general fund, land sale proceeds and police impact fees and that no new taxes or debt was created to finance the project.