The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is seeking as much as 1 million square feet of space in Wake County where it can consolidate the agency’s office, warehouse and parking needs.
The state Department of Administration on Wednesday issued a request for proposals for the campus, which is expected to be anywhere from 850,000 to 1.05 million square feet. DHHS is seeking to sign a 20-year lease agreement for either an existing property or a build-to-suit facility.
The request says that preference will be given to sites that are in close proximity to the Dorothea Dix campus. The Council of State voted in April that Dorothea Dix Hospital will close its doors to its last patients in August. Roughly 1,300 DHHS employees still work on the campus.
Gov. Bev Perdue has joined with Raleigh leaders in voicing support for making the Dorothea Dix campus a public park, and it was Perdue who directed the Department of Administration to begin looking for new offices for the department.
The request is the result of a analysis conducted of DHHS’ roughly 30 different state-owned and leased facilities in Wake County. Those facilities house about 4,300 workers.
The proposal does not include the state laboratory for public heath, which is to be located in a building now under construction on Blue Ridge Road.
The DHHS campus will be viewed by local developers and property owners as a huge opportunity given that few private companies are hunting for anywhere near that much space. But finding that amount of existing or newly built space in close proximity to Dorothea Dix will be a challenge.
The request says DHHS will need between 600,000 and 650,000 square feet to be delivered no later than June 2014. An additional 100,000 to 200,000 square feet will be needed by June 2017, with the final expansion to occur no later than June 2019.