The Lodi City Council will meet tonight at Carnegie Forum, but it will spend part of its meeting discussing the tile-roofed office building directly across the street.
For more than a year, the city has planned to move its finance department out of the office, at 300 W. Pine St., spurred by a desire to save on the annual $135,700 rent it pays.
Now it has got an option to stay and buy the building.
Owner and local businessman Russ Munson has offered to sell it to the city for an undisclosed amount.
Council members will mull the offer during a closed session before the meeting's 7 p.m. open session starts.
Later in the meeting, the council is scheduled to vote on a contract to renovate the city-owned courtroom at the west end of the former police headquarters - in anticipation of moving the finance department in.
That project is expected to cost up to $750,000, according to a city report.
Munson explained during a brief interview Tuesday morning why he has offered to sell the office.
Lodi City Council meetingWhen and where: 7 p.m. tonight at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St.
Also on the agenda for tonight's Lodi City Council meeting:
- Public hearing to consider uses of Community Development Block
Grant Program funds.
- Receive design guidelines for transit-oriented development for Downtown.
"As an additional option, I said: 'Rather than spending all that money (on renovations for a new building), why don't you buy the (existing) building?'" he said.
Munson owns and operates Wine and Roses, the upscale hotel and restaurant on Turner Road.
He was given exclusive rights a year ago to work with the city to develop Downtown hotel plans. Munson said the search for a Downtown hotel site is on-hold due to a poor economy. His exclusive rights with the city have expired, confirmed City Spokesman Jeff Hood.
Munson added that his offer to sell the office building has nothing to do with developing a future hotel in Lodi.
Ironically, the site of the old police headquarters, at 210 W. Elm St., was suggested more than two years ago by a city consultant as a possible site for a Downtown hotel.
That building still houses Lodi Fire Station No. 1 and a police firing range.
City and business leaders have pushed for a Downtown hotel to bolster Lodi's emerging tourism industry.
City spokesman Jeff Hood said that tonight's meeting will be the council's first chance to hear Munson's offer.
Hood said he had not heard of any plans by city administrators to continue to use the leased building if and when the finance department moves out.
"The idea has been: You take advantage of the space the city owns," Hood said.
(Editor's Note: This story was updated at noon Wednesday, Sept. 3 to clarify what part of the old police building would be renovated.)