Two empty buildings recently bought by Bibb County will start the dominoes falling for shuffling offices in the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government, architect Bob Brown told members of the consolidation task force Monday.
The Bibb County sheriff and tax commissioner can move into those buildings -- the former Sears building at the corner of Third and Walnut streets, and the former Capital City Bank at 455 Walnut St. -- when theyre renovated in early 2014, said Brown, of BTBB Architects, who has been studying office space for the consolidated government. Stored city and county records will go into the Sears buildings basement, he told the task forces Facilities Committee.
Those moves will free up space for other offices in the Middle Georgia Regional Commission office, Bibb County Courthouse, Macon City Hall and City Hall Annex, Brown said.
At first, the task force was only talking about future uses for the courthouse, City Hall and City Hall Annex, he said. But to rearrange offices there, he also had to consider what might be moved to other buildings, especially with the coming merger of the Macon Police Department with the Bibb County Sheriffs Office.
The 82,000-square-foot Sears building sits on 1.7 acres and has 102 parking spaces, William Stanford of BTBB said. Brown said moving city and county records there should save tens of thousands of dollars in annual space-rental fees.
To help free up space, Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards encouraged government departments to thin out as many old records as they practically and legally can before the move.
Once the records are moved, the county will lease its former storage space at 175 Emery Highway to the adjacent Middle Georgia Regional Commission at $10 per square foot, Bibb County Chairman Sam Hart said.
The expanded MGRC office can then hold 11 employees of the Macon-Bibb County Workforce Investment Board, which the regional commission has taken over, Brown said. Workforce is now housed in the citys Terminal Station.
Most of the Sears buildings upper two floors will be taken by the sheriffs office, Brown said.
The former bank building sits on one acre and has room for 67 parking spaces, Stanford said. The 16,000-square-foot building can house the tax commissioners entire operation, Brown said.
Its really in great condition, he said of the building.
Once those moves are done, Macons Municipal Court can move to the main floor of the Bibb County Courthouse, concentrating all judicial functions in that building, Brown said.
Telegraph writer Phillip Ramati contributed to this report. To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.