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News County looking to acquire new downtown office space

The building on the corner of E. Palmer and Patton is the former location of the Franklin Police Department.Macon County is looking to acquire a new building in downtown Franklin to relocate offices from leased properties and prepare for possible expansion in the future. Last Tuesday, June 21, at a recessed meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Chairman Brian McClellan announced the county's intention to purchase the property on the corner of East Palmer Street and Patton Avenue in downtown Franklin for $300,000.

The two-story, bright yellow building, which sits on a 0.37 acre double lot, is actually comprised of three office suites with the addresses 16, 18 and 20 Patton Avenue. One of the three suites formerly housed the Franklin Police Department before it was moved to its new offices on West Palmer Street; the other two suites remain unfinished spaces. In total, the building will add approximately 10,000 square feet of office space for county offices.

The building is located just two blocks from the county's courthouse complex and is on the same street as another county building housing the Office of Veterans Services on the corner of Main Street and Patton Avenue.

According to county manager Jack Horton, in part the building will be used to relocate numerous offices of the Sheriff's department which are currently operated out of various leased properties in the downtown area, including the Sheriff's Juvenile Services office located in a building next to the courthouse.

“We would be able to relocate those offices immediately to the new building,” said Horton. The other suites will have to be finished off before additional county offices can be relocated to the building. Until it has need of the additional space, the county could choose to lease the unused portions of the building, but Horton said the county has not planned that far ahead.

“It’s at a good location adjacent to currently owned county property,” Horton said, explaining the rationale for the purchase. “It meets the immediate need and has the potential for long-term expansion.”

“What’s more, he said, “it's at a really attractive price.”

The building and property were last appraised at $703,720. The property, which was formerly owned by Ron Franklin, a local building contractor, went into foreclosure and is now owned by United Community Bank. In the long run, Horton says the acquisition would mean a significant savings for Macon County taxpayers.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously moved to appropriate $320,000 in total for the purchase – the $300,000 purchase price plus an additional $20,000 to cover unanticipated costs that might accrue in the property transfer. At the meeting, county attorney Chester Jones advised the county manager to hold off on a final signing until the county had done its due diligence in inspecting the property.

Horton says that if everything checks out, the board will take official action on the acquisition at a July 5 recessed meeting.


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