Finding a new home: Old Family Dollar to become new city hall

SANTA ROSA — The old Family Dollar may soon become the city’s new center for administrative offices.

“This is a pretty good indication of what we’ve been able to accomplish in 2015,” said Chris Lopez, city administrator.

After negotiating back-and-forth with the owners of the building for seven months, the Hutton group out of Tennessee finally agreed to a deal with the city.

The city entered a contract to pay $1,400 a month over the next 15 years to buy the building.

Lopez said the city made a down payment of $25,000 and will begin making monthly payments for the facility in October 2016.

The original asking price of the building was $600,000 before the city entered the contract to buy it for an estimated $250,000.

The building is expected to become a one-stop location for city business.

The 13,000-square-foot building will house the city administration, city police, municipal court and utilities office.

“We’re happy about it and the community is happy about it,” Lopez said. “The realty group is very generous in their approach in the deal.”

It appears to be a win-win for all involved.

The Family Dollar building has been vacant for more than a year.

The store closed it doors after having to compete with Dollar General, which also moved into town.

Santa Rosa’s City Hall has been working out of the former community center for more than three years.

Prior to that, the City Hall was located in a building that is now used as a warehouse for city equipment.

It had been damaged by Hurricane Dolly in 2008. A few years later, City Hall had to be relocated due to more flooding.

Lopez said the city council wanted to make the purchase happen and they worked together to find the funding in the city budget to get the much needed city facility.

Area engineers are working with the city drawing up ideas of what the New City hall could look like in the future.

Santa Rosa City Alderman Ramiro Ochoa said the city will begin to make improvements to the building within the next six months.

“This is an opportunity for us and we intend to take advantage of it,” Ochoa said. “We just need to secure some more monies to modernize the building.”

The city leaders do not want the building to give any reminders of the Family Dollar after it receives a makeover.

“It’s going to be a challenge but we’ll figure it out,” Ochoa said.