3 Locations Proposed for $6.5M Purcellville Police Headquarters

The ever-growing Purcellville Police Department could be moving into a new headquarters building that’s nearly three times larger as soon as 2023.

Moseley Architects presented the Town Council Tuesday night with detailed information on a project that will move the Police Department out of its existing 4,300-square-foot space into a permanent, 12,000-square-foot headquarters. Moseley Vice President Josh Bennett proposed the construction of a $6.5 million headquarters building in one of three locations—across from the fire station at the corner of Hirst Road and Maple Avenue, off Allder School Road just south of the Woodgrove High School property or off West Main Street across from the Loudoun Golf & Country Club outside the town limits.

Bennett said building design and construction could be complete in 19 months. Of course, that timeline might grow longer, and the project cost might come out to be higher, since the town will have to purchase the land to build on. Town Manager David Mekarski said commercial land in town is selling for about $100,000 an acre right now and the town staff is recommending purchasing a 5-acre site.

Mekarski told council members the town could finance the project with a 20-year loan using the current market interest rate of 2 percent, which representatives from Davenport & Company, the town’s financial advisor, said are at a 60-year low. That would mean the town would pay the loan back at $400,000 annually, coming out to a grand total of $8 million.

But the Police Department will need to remain in a temporary headquarters—and continue to pay rent—until that new building is constructed.

Police Chief Cynthia McAlister said the existing headquarters, which the town has been leasing from the Lowers Risk Group since 2005, is inadequate because the lobby isn’t secure, there’s no recording capability in the interview room and officers don’t have enough workspace, among other issues. Of the department’s 22 employees, eight officers have no desks in the building.

But Lowers has offered the department an additional 3,100 square feet of space. If the department were to remain in that space for another three years, it would spend a total of $880,000 in that time. If the department were to lease that space for another 10 years, it would spend $2.9 million over the next decade.

If the department were to move into a 7,500-square-foot temporary headquarters off Pickwick Drive, it would spend $885,000 for a three-year lease and $3 million for a 10-year lease. Bennett said that location is “very economical” but not very secure.

And if the department were to move into a 7,800-square-foot temporary headquarters in the former Dragon Hops Brewing building off Main Street, it would spend $910,000 for a three-year lease and $3 million for a 10-year lease.

The Pullen House, whichthe town purchased for $175,000 in 2011 and is located adjacent to the Fireman’s Field complex near the town hall, is also being considered for a temporary headquarters. Moseley presented no financing options for that location.

In Moseley’s review of the temporary headquarters sites, the former Dragon Hops building scored the best out of the four options. That review scored each location’s access, visibility, viability, cost, accommodation, distance from the downtown area and security.

The town is looking to have a new police headquarters built in the next five years at most. If it takes longer than that, inflation could see the project cost rise from $6.5 million to $9.6 million, according to Davenport estimates.

Interest rates will inevitably increase in the next decade, as well. Davenport estimates that a 4-percent, as opposed to a 2-percent, interest rate would see the town paying $14.2 million throughout a 20-year span on a $9.6 million project. That would mean the town could be stuck paying $6.2 million more overall on the project if it doesn’t get the ball rolling now, not including lease payments on a temporary headquarters.

“The time to borrow money is not three years from now, five years from now, or seven years from now. It really is now,” Mekarski said.

The town staff is expected to invite Davenport representatives to a future Town Council meeting to explain how the town can lock in a low interest rate.

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A concept plan of the proposed 12,000-square-foot Purcellville Police Department headquarters prepared by Moseley Architects.
Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister and Sgt. Mike Owens examine the locker space in the department headquarters, which was intended as a temporary location when officers moved there in 2005. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

One thought on “3 Locations Proposed for $6.5M Purcellville Police Headquarters

  • 2020-08-18 at 5:15 pm

    If you don’t have desks for 8 officers, why did you hire them? Crazy idea, when Purcellville is trying to make ends meet on another capital project Sewer system already, why not simply reduce the police force?

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