County grapples with expensive renovations to former DHHS building

Alpena County continues to work toward a lease agreement on the building it owns at 711 W. Chisholm Street, which was formerly occupied for years by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The board of commissioners in December, awarded the lease to I2P, LLC, which wants to use the building for office space.

But the building is in need of major renovations, the majority of which are cosmetic, such as painting and floor replacement.

Officials with I2P also asked the county to remove a few walls, replace door locks, tear down wallpaper, change out ceiling tiles and lighting and more.

During a commissioner committee meeting last week, County Administrator Mary Catherine Hannah said a very preliminary estimate on all the work is around $127,000. Due to the high cost, commissioners directed Hannah to bid out the work and to also go back to the table with I2P over its lease offer of approximately $117,000 a year or $9,750 a month. Another option might be that the county and the company would share the cost of improvements.

Hannah hopes to have bids back in February. I2P would like to move into the building in March, but Hannah is not sure all the improvements can be completed by that time.