City may be a seller

As renovation work continues on Marietta’s City Hall at 301 Putnam St., officials are making preparations for the sale of the city building at 308 Putnam St and the potential sale of the municipal building next door at 304 Putnam.

“When the renovations are done at city hall later this year, everyone currently located at 308 Putnam, except for the council clerk, will have a home at 301 Putnam,” said Jonathan Hupp, city safety-service director.

The offices of the city auditor, treasurer, and information technology departments will move to city hall, while the council clerk will move to the first floor at 304 Putnam St. for now, he said.

The building at 304 Putnam currently houses the city engineering, health and water departments, as well as the community development office.

“At this time none of the offices in 304 Putnam are scheduled to move,” Hupp said. “But the administration has done an assessment of conditions in that building and it’s in desperate need of renovation.”

The 304 Putnam St. property was the former location of Marietta Osteopathic Hospital (which eventually became Selby General Hospital) and Hupp said he didn’t believe the building has been renovated since the city health department moved there around 1970.

While 308 Putnam is definitely going to be sold, Hupp said it’s possible that 304 Putnam could eventually be placed on the market, too, so city council is seeking appraisals on both properties.

“Legislation is currently being prepared to authorize the safety-service director to advertise for quotes from firms to do appraisals on the 304 and 308 Putnam St. properties,” said city law director Paul Bertram III.

He said the legislation would be introduced during Thursday’s regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the community building at Lookout Park.

“The safety-service director will have 30 days to receive the quotes for appraisals and to return those quotes to council,” Bertram explained, noting that the firm quoting the lowest fee would likely be the one chosen to perform the property appraisals.

He said some interest has been expressed in the past by Marietta College for possible purchase of the 308 Putnam St. property. The college already owns a former law office facility directly next door to 308 Putnam.

But Bertram said the college has not discussed the potential purchase of that property recently.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, who chairs the finance committee, said the property appraisals would help in the budgeting process.

“We know we’re going to sell 308 Putnam, and that money would go into the capital improvement fund which we could use to help pay down some of the debt for the city hall renovations,” he said. “And we don’t need all of these city buildings downtown.”

Vukovic said 304 Putnam could also be sold, but, unlike 308 Putnam, there is currently no place where those offices could be relocated.

There have been some recent discussions about possibly locating city offices in the Armory Square building on Front Street that is also undergoing renovations.

Hupp said city council is already planning to locate new council chambers there, and it would make sense to also house the council clerk there.

“The administration also spoke to the employees currently housed at 304 Putnam and asked them if they would prefer to stay in that building or possibly move into the armory building on Front Street,” he said. “The vast majority said they would move to the armory where we could develop a city services annex.”

But Hupp noted there have been no formal plans made for such a move at this time.

“This is all in the concept phase now,” he said. “We’re just looking at the best future use of our city assets.”