Frederick County Interested In Purchasing Property At 800 Oak St.

The County Executive says it would be used to consolidate county agencies.

Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County is interested in purchasing the property at 800 Oak Street.  At her public information briefing on Tuesday,  County Executive Jan Gardner says the county has submitted a letter of intent to buy the parcel.

“The property is massive,”: says Gardner. “There’s more than 209,000 square feet of space on 26-acres of land, including about nine-and-a-half acres–close to ten-acres–that’s at the back of the property that will provide lots of flexibility for the future for additional uses.”

It also has another good quality. “The site is centrally located. It’s easily accessible from Route 15, Interstate 70,  270 and the Golden Mile,” she says.

The county is leasing the property, and it’s where  the Health Department is holding COVID-19 vaccination  clinics.

Gardner says if the county’s purchases this property, it could use it to consolidate some local government operations. “We know we need expanded space for Citizens Services, for Family Partnership, . for our Senior Services, for the Health Department, just to name a few,” she says.

“The Oak Street location also includes a truck dock, and warehouse space which will would allow the option to move DPW {Division of Public Works} maintenance operations from a location on Pine Street on the east side of the city of Frederick,” Gardner continues.

The building once housed a call center for State Farm and United Health Care, and Gardner says it could become a new 911 Call Center. “Obviously, when you do a 911 center, there’s a big cost to install computer fiber and phone lines which is substantial,” she says. “This building, since it was a call center, already has high tech connections in place which will greatly reduce the cost of installing a call center there.”

The cost of installing a 911 call center is estimated at $32-million, says Gardner.

Another idea being considered is a branch library.  But Gardner says no final decisions have been made on how this building and the surrounding property will be used.

The price tag for the property is estimated at $20-million. But Gardner says there may be ways to offset some of those costs, such as reductions to the Capital Improvements Program which is estimated to $10-million and the sale of some of the county’s properties. That would bring the net costs somewhere between $7-million to $8-million.

She hopes to bring this proposal to the County Council next week. Gardner says the county could settle on the property in October.

By Kevin McManus