The Douglas County Board will consider using eminent domain to acquire a property near 18th and Howard Streets for its proposed $120 million juvenile justice center.
The resolution to initiate acquisition proceedings — along with several other key steps forward for the justice center — will go before the board Tuesday morning.
The property’s owner, architect Bob Perrin, rejected the county’s offer to buy his four-story, 40,000-square-foot office building at 420 S. 18th St., for $900,000 back in May.
“It’s not for sale,” Perrin told The World-Herald at the time. “We’re using the building.”
Perrin has already had a run-in with eminent domain — the University of Nebraska Board of Regents used it to acquire land from him south of Leavenworth Street for a University of Nebraska Medical Center expansion.
Douglas County wants to use most of the city block southwest of 18th and Harney Streets for a juvenile justice campus, which would include two buildings. A “justice tower” would have juvenile courts and related services as well as new offices for the Douglas County attorney and Douglas County public defender. Another building would be a juvenile detention center.
The board voted in May to purchase the $2.75 million Omaha Housing Authority’s downtown headquarters, at 1805 Harney St., for the project. Douglas County already owns another building at the site. Plans call for demolishing the buildings, including Perrin’s.
Also in May, the Omaha-Douglas Public Building Commission declared its intent to issue up to $120 million in bonds for the project — $110 million for the juvenile justice center and $10 million for a parking garage.
Other items on deck at the County Board meeting:
» A request for $1.45 million in advance funds from the building commission for the juvenile justice center’s first phase of work. The county would reimburse the building commission for the funds.
» An ancillary services agreement, owner’s representative agreement and memorandum of understanding between Douglas County and the Omaha-Douglas Public Building Commission. The agreement and memorandum state that the entities would work together on planning, financing, design, construction and other components of getting the juvenile justice center off the ground.
» A budget hearing for and adoption of the proposed 2018-2019 Douglas County budget. Per the budget, the tax rate is to stay the same at about 28 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.