David Castellon" />

Plans are in the works to convert the vacated BIG Kmart department store in Visalia, pictured here, into an office building. Photo by David Castellon

published on December 18, 2019 - 2:07 PM
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The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to lease the former Visalia BIG Kmart to use as offices for the county’s Probation and Mental Health Services departments.

Last month, city officials confirmed efforts were underway to lease the 85,500-square-foot department store that closed last year and convert it into office spaces, but they didn’t disclose what groups were interested.

A report for the supervisors ahead of Tuesday’s meeting states that the Probation Department has outgrown its 25,549 square feet of space in Visalia — part of it in the Tulare County Superior Courthouse and the rest in two leased spaces in other parts of the city — “and has identified the need to consolidate staff into a single location that offers improved functionality for the department and improved accessibility and service to customers.”

The 25-year lease — with three five-year options for renewal, along with an option for the county to buy the building after the first five years at a fair market value — has a base rate of $106,633 a month, along with a $12,925 monthly fee to maintain common areas.

Both rates will increase by 2% annually, though maintenance charges will be adjusted, based on actual costs, with the county being reimbursed for any overpayments.

In addition, 5 cents per square foot will be set aside from the maintenance fees and placed in reserve to help pay for major repairs and equipment replacement needed while the county leases the building.

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