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Jan 20, 2015 9:58 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Board To Request Proposals For Old Town Hall Building

Jan 20, 2015 3:04 PM

East Hampton Town officials have taken the first steps to consolidate most town offices into one space at the Town Hall campus on Pantigo Road—and to settle what to do with the old Town Hall building, up to and including demolishing it.

Starting tomorrow, January 22, a request for proposals to reconstruct and repurpose the old Town Hall building will be available for architects to peruse at the town clerk’s office.

According to Supervisor Larry Cantwell, the concept is to get all the departments onto one campus and to do it in an efficient way, even if it means demolishing the old Town Hall building, which was built in the 1960s and currently sits vacant behind the new offices, and building anew.

“People come to Town Hall to pay their taxes and have to be redirected to an entirely different property,” Mr. Cantwell said. “There’s a certain amount of confusion—because some important town functions are spread out on different properties—in terms of convenience for the public and the efficiency of town government operations itself. Getting everyone on the same site would be a big improvement.”

He said that over the last several months, the Planning Department, town officials and consulting engineer Drew Bennett formed a space needs committee and have been looking at how much space exists outside of the current Town Hall building. There are a few options, he said.

“We’re ready to take the next step,” he said. “By doing the RFP, architecture firms can work on designing a space we need. We need to evaluate whether the old Town Hall building should be demolished or if portions of it can be used for the new building.”

Mr. Cantwell said more details will be nailed down once architects submit their proposals about how town departments can be brought into the new building and how it can be done efficiently incorporating energy efficiency and convenient parking.

Since 2010, the tax receiver, tax assessor, the planning, natural resources and code enforcement departments, the building inspector and the fire marshal have been stationed at office suites located at 300 Pantigo Place, which is adjacent to the main Town Hall campus. The old Town Hall building has been empty since then.

The 1747 Baker House and its barn, which both sit to the west of the town’s campus and have been undergoing renovation, may also be incorporated into the town hall campus. The Peach Farm building, which is on the northwest corner of the building complex and was likely built in the 1720s, could also be used as an office.

The structures were donated to the town for its use by Adelaide de Menil in 2009. The other historic structures that she donated were restored and converted into what now serves as Town Hall.

In October, the space needs assessment committee said the preferred option so far would be to demolish the old Town Hall building and build a 12,500-square-foot annex. Mr. Bennett had said that it would be most cost-effective to rebuild and use green technology to heat and run the building. He estimated that it could cost as much as $5.5 million.

According to Mr. Bennett, the town has a considerable amount of money that could be used toward the project. In October, he said the town had $4.9 million in other assets, savings and grants on the books already.

During the Bill Wilkinson administration, the town had set aside more than $500,000, which had been awarded to the town for reducing its deficit and lowering taxes during the 2010-11 fiscal year, to restore the building.

Additionally, Mr. Cantwell said the town could get a good deal of money by selling its Pantigo Place suites and has half a million dollars in waiting from the recent sale of The Retreat property that the town owned.

First, however, the town will take in proposals and decide on which plan meets all of its requirements. Proposals are due Thursday, February 19.

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We always talk about how de Menil "donated" the structures. How much have we spent moving, converting them, and restoring them --not to mention we fell short of her vision because all the money the town had disappeared when McGintee was supervisor. We never needed "McGintee's Follies" -- we need a modern office complex to run the town government. We were left with this . .this . .Freedom Land make believe La la world and a $30 million nut. Thanks, Bill.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Jan 20, 15 10:56 PM