Purcellville Council Approves 5-Year Lease for Temporary Police HQ

Purcellville Police officers will spend at least another five years in a rented office space at the northern edge of town.

The Town Council last Tuesday night voted 6-1, with Councilman Stanley Milan opposed, to approve a five-year lease with the Lowers Risk Group for the Police Department to remain in the 4,300-square-foot building it has leased since 2005. The town will pay Lowers $666,663 in rent from May 2021 through the end of April 2026.

That will leave the town $833,000 to perform upgrades to the space, according to an October 2020 Town Council vote allowing the town staff to spend up to $1.5 million on both the lease and to perform security-related improvements to the building. Some of that work includes expanding the Department’s operations into an additional 2,000-square-feet of space.

“We are going to manage this buildout the most frugal way we possibly can,” said Police Chief Cynthia McAlister. “We’re not going to frivolously spend tax dollars on the buildout just because you give us an $800,000 ceiling.”

Town Manager David Mekarski said the town staff did “a tremendous job” negotiating the lease with Lowers. He said those negotiations saved taxpayers close to $240,000 over the course of the five-year lease.

Mayor Kwasi Fraser during last week’s meeting asked if the town had considered requesting a right of first refusal to purchase the property, noting that he understood the town was not looking to make the Lowers space the Police Department’s permanent headquarters. Town Attorney Sally Hankins said she would have that discussion with Lowers.

Councilman Ted Greenly said incorporating the right of first refusal into the lease “makes a ton of sense,” since it would cost the town nothing to ensure that it has the right to be the first party to place an offer on the property if Lowers puts it on the market.

Read the full five-year lease here.

After 2026, the town is looking to build a new, permanent police headquarters that will last four decades. According to Moseley Architects projections, if the town had built that headquarters before 2023, it would have cost the town at least $6.4 million in hard costs. Waiting until 2030 to build the headquarters will cost the town a minimum of $8.4 million, according to those projections.

Moseley has presented four potential locations for construction of a permanent headquarters: south of Woodgrove High School along Mayfair Crown Drive, off Hirst Road across Maple Avenue from the fire station, west of the town limits off West Main Street, and another on 2.25 acres of the Basham Simms Wastewater Facility property.

The firm anticipates it will take 12 months to build a the new headquarters from the day the selected construction company breaks ground.

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