Written by The Business Journal Staff
Specifically, county officials are seeking bids to rent out 15,316 square feet of hard-to-find Class A office space in the Tulare/Akers Professional Center, part of the three-story, 180,679-square-foot Visalia office building the county bought in 2015.
Last week, the Tulare County supervisors voted unanimously to seek sealed bids from potential lessees, setting the close of business on March 27 as the deadline to submit them.
County officials purchased the building, most of which was vacant, for $16.97 million with an intent to allow at least some of the remaining tenants to stay and having some county agencies occupying a portion of the rest and possibly leasing out some of the remaining unused space.
Current plans are for the county sheriff’s office and fire department to relocate headquarters starting this summer to the office building at the northwest corner or West Tulare Avenue and South Akers Street, off Highway 198.
But they’ll only fill about 50,000 square feet of space in the north wing, said Robert Newby, property manager for the county General Services Department.
A call center for Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co. — which constructed the building in 2000 and expanded it a couple of years later — occupies about 82,000 square feet, with the IRS and Pearson Vue testing center occupying about 6,500 and 2,000 square feet, respectively, he added.
For now, plans are for about 9,200 hundred square feet to remain vacant, giving the county room to move additional staff and agencies into that space or the option to lease it in the future.
The building also includes a full-service cafeteria accessible to employees of all the tenants.
As for the space on the first floor of the building’s southwest wing going up for lease, it’s a unique space in the South Valley, as Class A office buildings — the top grade for office space — is rare to find there.
In fact, only two Class A buildings exist in Visalia, the other one being Tulare County’s Government Plaza on the city’s south end, a former insurance company building that the county bought and now occupies.
As for the Tulare/Akers center — sometimes called the “Cigna Building” by locals because company’s logo is prominently displayed on it — Newby said minimum starting bids are $1.65 per square foot a month for rent, and the renter will have to pay an additional 60 cents per square foot for the monthly common area maintenance fee.