At the August 25 Tulare County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the board voted to open escrow for the purchase of the Cigna building on Akers and Tulare Avenue and across from the Lifestyles Gym. The sales price for the two-story, 180,679-square-foot building is $16.97 million. The county intends to make this a cash deal.
Cigna is currently utilizing half of the building and their lease is up in June, 2016. They intend to sign a new 10-year lease that would generate an additional $1.3 million income for the county. In the event they do not, the purchase price would go down. About 76,000 square feet of the building would be left for use by the county. What the county would use the building for has not yet been decided.
The county also has the option to back out of the escrow anytime if something changes in the contract.
Supervisor Phil Cox said that the sales price translates into $94 per square foot, and that the county could never replicate a building like that for that price.
Supervisor Allen Ishida said that in 2007 the county was exploring the idea of building another county building on Burrell next and the price would be $300 per square foot. He also said he was grateful there was not another buyer waiting in the wings or the price would be much higher.
Supervisor Pete Vander Poel reminded those attending the meeting that, when the county bought the Nationwide Insurance building, which is now the Government Plaza across from Mooney Grove, the county had to borrow every dime.
The Cigna building is bigger, there is more parking, and it can handle the needs of the County for decades.
“It makes it an even better deal when we don’t have to borrow,” said Vander Poel.