News

City to spend $4.1M to renovate former cop shop

By Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review

The City of Niagara Falls will spend $4.1 million to renovate the former Niagara Regional Police station on Morrison Street.
(RAY SPITERI/NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW/POSTMEDIA NETWORK)

The City of Niagara Falls will spend $4.1 million to renovate the former Niagara Regional Police station on Morrison Street. (RAY SPITERI/NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW/POSTMEDIA NETWORK)

The City of Niagara Falls will spend $4.1 million to renovate the former Niagara Regional Police station on Morrison Street.

The project is included in the municipality’s 2017 capital budget, which has been approved by council.

The city purchased the former cop shop late last year for the asking price of $1.1 million.

Niagara Region owned the property, which was declared surplus in September after police operations relocated to the new $65-million headquarters on Valley Way.

The city took possession of the building Dec. 22 and is planning extensive renovations to change the layout from its former use as a police station to a space that functions as offices and meeting rooms for several city departments.

“Right now we’re looking at borrowing (to pay for the renovations). That’s going to be a future decision (of council),” said finance director Todd Harrison.

“We’re going to have some cost savings because we’re going to have some leases that we aren’t going to have to pay (anymore) and we’re going to get some revenue from Niagara Regional Broadband Network renting space there, too.”

The city plans to move staff currently occupying rented space throughout Niagara Falls into the premises.

The municipality’s small business office on Queen Street, as well as staff currently working in the basement of city hall, would also move into the former police building.

“City hall is pretty well full, it’s at its capacity and the city, as is evidenced by leasing space outside the building, we need additional room, so from that perspective it’s going to help the city, simply by having a city-owned facility where we can house our staff,” said Harrison.

“It’s a good mix with NRBN going in there as well, and there might be other synergies that are coming down the road with having additional parking and space between the two buildings in that area.”

He said NRBN is “anxious” to move into the building.

NRBN is a local service provider of data and voice solutions and is currently headquartered in Grimsby.

“We want to expedite this, but we also want to do it smart,” said Harrison.

“We’re just putting together a qualification tender for architects to be engaged and once we have that done then we’ll have a better idea of what they’re planning.”

He said at this point, renovations are expected to include a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, new roof and other structural items, as well as work inside the building.

The building at 4343 Morrison St. was constructed in 1975 and housed police in Niagara Falls since 1976. The building is located on a 1,477-square-metre, 0.4-hectare property just behind city hall.

rspiteri@postmedia.com



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