• 72°

For Sale: City Hall?

Orange City Council will discuss the option of purchasing First Financial Bank and selling the historic City Hall building during the Orange City Council meeting 9 a.m. Tuesday.

An agenda items for the meeting, the council will consider purchasing the First Financial Bank property located at 812 North 16th Street and a possible interim lease back agreement with the institution.

The purchase price is $2,000,000 with a lease back of $10,000 a month.

The property is valued at $4,750,000 according to a memorandum dated Dec. 21 from City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre to the mayor and the city council members.

During negotiations, it was learned the management of First Financial Bank is willing to make a donation of $2,750,000 to lower the price of the property to the $2,000,000.

Orange City Hall houses the Personnel office and Billing and Collection office are located on the first floor of the building. The offices of the City Manager, City Secretary, and Finance Department are located on the second floor.

Orange City Hall, 803 West Green Avenue, was originally the home of E.W. Brown, Jr., a prominent Orange businessman and philanthropist. The City of Orange purchased the building in 1944.

Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is located behind the building.

If the council agrees to the purchase, Finance, Human Resources, CVB, Economic Development, City Secretary, and City Manger will be moved to the new location at the termination of the bank’s lease. The lease is estimated to be 30 months until the bank can locate a new building.

The council will seek a new owner, which will keep the City Hall as one of the key assets to the downtown area, according to the memorandum.