October 9, 2023
CITY OF LOWELL REVEALS PLAN FOR NEW CITY HALL AND POLICE DEPARTMENT
LOWELL, N.C. – The Lowell City Hall and the Lowell Police Department will soon be housed in a new City Municipal Building on North Main Street.
The property is currently under contract between the City of Lowell and the Lowell-Smyre United Methodist Church. The new municipal building will be built beside the church at 201 North Main Street.
About the Project
In Budget Planning sessions earlier this year, the City Council focused on the Community Investment Fund (CIF) to get ahead of critical infrastructure including buildings, parks, and water/sewer. This focus also tied back to their FY 2022-2024 three-year goal in their Strategic Vision to develop and update public facilities, which included Lowell City Hall.
The City’s current City Hall was built in 1958 and has served the City of Lowell well for the past 65 years but needs many updates, additional office space for employees, more parking for both employees and visitors, and increased meeting space. The current City Hall has 9 offices and 13 employees. The current Council Chambers has seating for the mayor, five City Council members, City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk, and then around two dozen seats used for City staff and residents attending the meetings. City Hall’s parking lot has 20 parking spaces for residents to park. Currently, the staff parking is on railroad property behind City Hall.
The Police Department is in a comparable situation and needs building updates, more office space, and additional parking. The Police Department has 4 offices used for administrative police staff, one of which is shared between two sergeants. The facility has one patrol office with 7 desks for patrol officers. The Department currently has 7 patrol officers, and the current space will not allow space for additional officers in the future. Most of the downstairs of the building is at capacity with evidence and files but it is also used to store bulk office supplies and cleaning supplies for the department. The current location is also along the railroad tracks so the facility cannot be expanded without removing the Police Department’s parking lot, which is where patrol and administrative police staff park their vehicles. The current Lowell Police Department has three public parking spaces, one of which is restricted to accessibility-only parking.
City staff initially explored the option of expanding the footprint of the current location of City Hall to house both City Hall and the Police Department but due to the railroad easement behind City Hall, the only option would be to build on top of the only existing parking lot that belongs to City Hall, which is where visitors park. Since the City of Lowell does not own enough contiguous land in the current location, a new site for the location of a new municipal building to consolidate City Hall and the Police Department is necessary.
The current City Hall sits on two Lowell-owned properties at the southwest corner of W. First Street and N. Main Street that combine to cover an area of 0.5 acres. The new City Hall will be adjacent to 201 N. Main Street and will cover 1.5 acres. The initial phase of the new City Hall and Police Department would include the development of a two story 19,000 ft2 to 21,000 ft2 municipal building. The building would frame a city plaza that would incorporate the existing church. Parking for the church and City Hall would be located at the rear and middle of the block, providing easy access to church parishioners and visitors to City Hall. Additional parking would be accommodated along the perimeter of the block. In total, over 72 spaces would be available for employees at City Hall and visitors.
Design and construction of the new municipal complex will begin in 2028.
Next Steps for the Vacant City Hall and Police Department Buildings
Lowell operates its City Hall and Police Department out of two different buildings that will become vacant after the construction of a new municipal building. Because of this, the City plans to explore market research and feasibility analysis opportunities to help guide the redevelopment and repurposing of these buildings. The City will submit a project to the UNC School of Government Community Economic Development program, and if chosen, Lowell will receive recommendations to help attract commercial investment into the community and downtown.
Contact: Scott Attaway, City Manager; 704-824-3518; firstname.lastname@example.org