Port finalizes costs related to fate of building

By Don Iler, Pilot staff writer November 22, 2013 08:20 pm

The unfinished green building at the port has been empty since it was built nearly a decade ago.

The Port of Brookings Harbor now has more accurate information about how much it would cost to either fix up or tear down the empty, unfinished green building at the port.

The two-story building, which sits on about 4 acres of land and has about 16,000-square-feet of usable space, has remained vacant since it was built nearly a decade ago.

In recent years, proposed uses of the building included a restaurant, retail shops and office (the original purpose of the building), an event center, brewery, and carousel and midway. 

However the chances of any of that happening appear dim in light of actual costs associated with the building.

A recently appointed committee on Thursday reviewed the numbers and heard comments from the public about the building. Given the new information, the committee recommended the port commission make a decision about the building’s fate soon — at least within a year.

The port commission meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Best Western Beachfront Inn, 16008 Boat Basin Road, Harbor.  

Port manager Ted Fitzgerald had E&M Constructors provide estimates for different scenarios for the structure, and Commissioner Jim Relaford provided numbers about potential revenue that would need to be raised in order to pay for it. 

Demolishing the structure down to a level gravel lot would cost nearly $183,000. A level area could be used for boat or crab pot storage that Relaford estimated would bring in about $40,000 a year in revenue. 

Fitzgerald said the green building is a blight on the port and he has tried to lease it or the ground underneath to numerous groups and interests, even offering it for free with the understanding the ground would be leased for $4,000 a month. But given the unfinished condition of the building and the amount of retail space already available in the Brookings market, no one has jumped at the offer. 

Fixing the building so that it could be leased to tenants would cost about $1.5 million. Improving the building would also require improvements to the parking and construction of a left turn lane on Lower Harbor Road. 

Relaford estimated the port would have to charge between 75 cents and $1 a square foot in rent to pay for fixing the building. But since no potential tenants have come forward, who would potentially occupy a retail building is unknown. 

“I’ve been trying to move that building for five years,” Fitzgerald said. “It does not make sense anymore for anyone with business sense and acumen to pull the trigger on that building.”

Even leaving the building as-is with no improvements would still cost the port an estimated $70,000 over 10 years, given that having no building there at all could generate rental money and storage space. The port currently performs minimum maintenance on the building. 

Other ideas for the building, such as a convention center or arts and community center, would need money to develop the site. 

Fitzgerald said the port would not hold the building or site for a group that did not have the money to immediately develop it.