The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission gave enthusiastic approval Wednesday to the city's plan to buy the Experian building near the airport for $6.5 million.
Commissioners voted unanimously that the purchase fits into the city's Comprehensive Plan for land use.
The city, which formally unveiled its plans Tuesday, will buy the 355,000-square-foot building on 20 acres of land for $6.5 million and spend about $1.2 million on renovation.
Initially, about 70 employees in the Engineering Services Division of Public Works and Utilities, now at 531 Westgate Blvd., would move into the building, which is at 949 W. Bond St.
Eventually, employees from several city departments would move into the building, and it would house the 911 Communications Center and the Lincoln Fire and Rescue training center.
Experian will lease space back from the city and keep 150 employees at the site.
Public Works Director Greg MacLean said the Experian building is a modern facility and he called the proposed city purchase "a pretty good bargain."
MacLean said the building was appraised at more than $8 million, and city officials determined the cost to acquire a similar-sized piece of land and build from scratch would cost more than $30 million.
Beyond cost, MacLean said, the building meets several other criteria the city had, including room for future expansion, within 10 minutes of City Hall, adequate infrastructure and will no effect on any residential areas.
The purchase will go before the City Council next month; the council will have final say on the deal.
Reach Matt Olberding at 402-473-2647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.