Written by Gabriel Dillard
Workers in an office building owned by Tulare County may soon have neighbors.
That’s because on Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on whether to accept a bid by Well Fargo to lease 15,316 square feet in the Tulare Akers Professional Center, a three-story office building in Visalia’s west side.
“It’s not going to be a bank,” said Robert Newby, the county’s property manager.
But he said he didn’t know what division Wells Fargo would assign to the building, and officials with the bank didn’t respond immediately to an interview request.
That space is less than 10 percent of the approximately 180,679-square-foot building the county bought in 2016 for $16.97 million with a plan to occupy a portion of it with county agencies, including headquarters for the sheriff’s and fire departments, which will move in starting this summer.
Portions of the building already were occupied by private businesses when the county bought it, including the IRS and a call center for Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co. They remain in the building and will continue to do so under lease agreements after the county agencies move in.
Last month, country officials announced bids would be accepted to lease vacant space in the southwest wing of the building, and a minimum bid was set at $1.65 per square foot monthly rent.
The tenant would have to pay an additional 60 cents per square foot to cover its portion of maintenance fees for common areas.
Wells Fargo submitted the only bid, at a lease rate of $1.85 per square foot, or $28,334 a month.
The building is one of only two Class A office buildings — the top grade for office space — in all of Tulare County.
The other one is on Visalia’s south end and also is a former insurance building that the county purchased and now occupies.