Inside County Government

More costs, deadlines emerge on county office shuffle

A rendering of the county’s proposed new design of MEDIC headquarters on Wilkinson Bouelvard.
A rendering of the county’s proposed new design of MEDIC headquarters on Wilkinson Bouelvard. Courtesy of Mecklenburg County

Think of it as Mecklenburg County shuffling a deck of cards – except with people and buildings.

In the next three years, county staff will move into new offices, county buildings will be renovated, and some county departments will be consolidated – all part of the $165 million “Bringing Mecklenburg County to You” plan officials have touted for months now.

Money for the plan comes from the county’s capital spending budget.

The idea is to bring services closer to where residents live and open six community resource centers. Commissioners this week got an update on project plans and construction costs:

LUESA relocation

▪ Cost: $9.5 million.

▪ Planned debut: Jan. 4.

▪ The plan: The county land use and environmental services agency will leave the Hal Marshall Center in uptown and move into the former Charlotte School of Law Building on Suttle Avenue just west of uptown. The county bought the land and building last year for $16.5 million. A code enforcement customer service center will go on the main floor, while the rest of the building will house offices and laboratories.

Valerie C. Woodard Center renovation

▪ Cost: $72 million.

▪ Planned debut: April 2018.

▪ The plan: About 260,000 square feet of the sprawling Freedom Drive complex will be renovated, and some departments there now (public information and business process management) will move out. Departments in the Hal Marshall Center and Bob Walton Plaza (including community support services and the tax assessor, respectively) will move in, and those buildings will be sold to developers.

The Woodard building will be the first of the six community centers, and will also include non-clinical health department offices, youth and family services and children’s developmental services.

Medic’s move

▪ Cost: $43.5 million.

▪ Planned debut: December 2017.

▪ The plan: Medic will leave Statesville Road and move into a refurbished facility on Wilkinson Boulevard. The county bought the land for $6.9 million.

Government District shuffle

▪ Cost: $11.2 million.

▪ Planned debut: December 2017.

▪ The plan: Criminal Justice Services will leave the government center (600 E. Fourth St.) and go to a building on 715 E. Fourth St. The county’s finance department – scattered across four different buildings – will consolidate and move into the public defender’s office’s current space in the Judge Clifton E. Johnson Building (700 E. Fourth St.).

Public defenders will go to their former space in the County and Courts Office Building (720 E. Fourth St.). Those plans have raised concerns from public defenders, who feel the smaller space won’t accommodate their workforce and will restrict access to thousands of case files.