County buys office buildings for $40 million


By Chris Cooney

Bay City News Service

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to move forward with the purchase of two office buildings on the border of Redwood City and San Carlos for more than $40 million.

The pair of four-story buildings and a three-story parking structure are located on Circle Star Way, just under a mile from the county's current office center in downtown Redwood City.

Real Property Services Division Manager Steve Alms said the purchase would take advantage of a historically low real estate market and provide the county with office space it could own rather than lease, protecting it from rents that could escalate in the future.

"I anticipate the biggest impact of this decision will be relief from leases," Alms said.

According to county estimates, the purchase could save the county more than $600,000 per month in lease payments as various rental agreements expire over the next eight years, Alms said.

In the short term, purchasing the two office buildings -- each with approximately 104,000 square feet of office space -- would enable the county to temporarily relocate offices in a building at 455 County Center, which is due for a seismic upgrade.

In the long term, various departments of the San Mateo County Human Services Agency and the county Health System have been named as candidates to be permanently relocated to the new office space.

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