December 14, 2018
Lewis and Clark County and City of Helena buy former Blue Cross Blue Shield buildings
Helena – Lewis and Clark County and the City of Helena today finalized the purchase of property located at 404 and 406 Fuller Ave. These properties, located near downtown Helena, formerly housed Blue Cross Blue Shield and will now be called the Law & Justice Center.
The appraised purchase price for both properties is $1,950,000, split equally between the County and the City. The original plan was to purchase only the 406 Fuller Ave. property for an appraised price of $1,290,000. Now the purchase includes 404 Fuller Ave., also known as the Pillar building, and an additional parking lot.
The County and City have been renting 406 Fuller Ave. for $12,500/month since May 2018, with the intent to buy. By closing before December 31, 100% of the rent payments apply towards the final purchase price. Costs associated with the building use, purchase and operations will be split by the two local governments.
Considerations for purchasing the entire property included several code requirements. Currently joined, separation of the property would require a 3-hour firewall, mechanical and electrical construction actions with a cost estimate of just over $600,000.
The 406 Fuller Ave. property is approximately 40,000 square feet while the 404 Fuller Ave. property adds an additional 25,000.
“Purchasing the additional property gives us more space to ultimately house other entities and helps establish a core local government presence in Downtown Helena,” said Roger Baltz, Lewis and Clark County Chief Administrative Officer. “It highlights a commitment to a thriving downtown, now and in the future. It also shows the strong partnership between the City of Helena and Lewis and Clark County.”
The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office and Helena Police Department will move to the 406 location in January.
”The Law & Justice Center will serve our residents well and having our law enforcement services co-located in the heart of our city is such a good idea,” said Dennis Taylor, City of Helena interim City Manager. “The Law & Justice Center is an outstanding addition to our central business district and a great way to repurpose an historic building.”
Once law enforcement agencies have moved from the current Law Enforcement Center (Detention Center) at 211 Breckenridge Ave., renovations to expand current jail capacity will begin. The 404 location will remain vacant until future use and funding is determined.
In 2016, voters approved a $6.5 million general obligation bond to transform all floors of the current Law Enforcement Center into additional detention space. The renovation will expand the current inmate capacity from 80 to 156. A levy to operate the facility passed in November 2017.
Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator
Lewis and Clark County
Chief Administrative Officer
Lewis & Clark County