FARMINGTON -- It's a real estate deal 21 years in the making.
Because of a 21-year-old renewable contract, Davis County will give property rights to a portion of the Criminal Justice Court complex in Farmington to the state in exchange for $3.7 million, which will be reinvested in other county infrastructure.
The Davis County Commission approved an agreement Tuesday to sell to the state Division of Facilities Management, as "obligated" by the contract, the rights to building space in the courtroom complex and parking space on the site.
The building space adjoins the state courts building on the site, said Curtis Koch, Davis County director of procurement and contracts.
The action, retroactive to Jan. 1, is based on a contract between the county and state established in 1990, when the county first opened the court complex at 800 W. State St., Koch said.
The portion of the complex to which the state acquired rights is the area where the Davis County Attorney's Offices are, Koch said.
There will be no immediate impact on the county attorney's office, though, because the contract requires the state to give the county two years' notice before using that space.
"The only change is when they exercise their option for the space," Koch said.
In a prepared statement to the Standard-Examiner, Department of Administrative Services public information officer Vicki Schoenfeld said: "The purchase of the Farmington courthouse was a result of the state of Utah exercising its option to purchase the courthouse under its lease with Davis County."
The $3.7 million purchase will save the state money and provide the benefit of direct ownership, Schoenfeld said, adding that the purchase will occur in the next several weeks.
With the state now holding rights to the property, it changes the role of the county from lessor to lessee, officials said.
The state is acquiring rights to the property because it provides additional courtroom space -- particularly a courtroom that can be retrofitted to meet full Americans With Disabilities Act requirements -- and because of the flexibility of office space it provides, county officials said.
The biggest challenge in sharing the facility will come in separating the state's property from the Davis County Sheriff's Office and adjoining county jail, where the two properties share a common corridor, said Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings.
Separation will also be a challenge in regard to paying for utilities, he said.
The money the county will receive from the state will be placed in its capital improvement projects funds, Rawlings said.
One possible use of the one-time revenue is to bring the front portion of the historic Memorial County Courthouse in downtown Farmington up to earthquake-safety standards, Rawlings said.
Preliminary cost estimates, he said, put that project at $4 million.
Although the state has renewed its purchase option agreement each year since 1990, the county and state have been working on this particular agreement for eight to 10 months, officials said.
"This is something we have always been aware of. There has been a lot of work going into this (agreement)," said Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn.
"Just because we knew it was coming down the pike, it wasn't easy to execute."