In a major coup for city officials, California Correctional Health Care Services has decided to bring its administrative headquarters—and 1500 employees—to Elk Grove next year.
Elk Grove won out over other possible locations in part because 35 percent of the agency's workers live here, said Nancy Kincaid, a spokesperson for the agency, which oversees care for the state's inmates under the terms of a federal court order. The proposal for a ten-year lease on several buildings in the also came in significantly cheaper than bids from other locations in Sacramento.
"It's not necessary to be in the shadow of the Capitol to do the state's business, in the world of technology," said Kincaid.
She said the agency will now negotiate the details of the lease with property owner Pappas Investments, which submitted the initial proposal in consultation with the City of Elk Grove. If those talks are successful, employees will move in starting in early 2012.
The decision comes after a long campaign on the part of city officials to bring state agencies here.
"That's awesome. It's the fruits of our labor," Mayor Steven Detrick told Elk Grove Patch upon hearing the news. "There's been some disappointment along the way but we've never given up."
Over the last few years, Elk Grove developed an economic incentive program aimed at state agencies, backed legislation that required them to consider where their workers lived when relocating, and even set up a special committee to help lure them.
Councilmember Gary Davis, who sits on that committee with Detrick, said the prison healthcare deal will help convince other state agencies to follow suit.
"If you look at every community that has multiple state agencies, the hardest one is the first one," he said.
He said he also expects it to quickly revitalize the retail strip near the site, where many storefronts now sit vacant.
The agency wants to consolidate to a single campus from the hodge-podge of buildings it now occupies in downtown Sacramento.
The estimated price tag for the Elk Grove site was $91 million over ten years, compared with $103 million for another building under consideration in Natomas or $119 million to retrofit the agency's current offices, Kincaid said.
"It was absolutely more cost-effective," said Kincaid.
The city also offered the agency about $5 million in incentives, according to Detrick, including reduced road-impact fees.
Kincaid said the decision to move to Elk Grove would have environmental impacts as well.
"It will take 700 people off of the intense commute that is northbound 99 and northbound I-5," she said.
The new site on Laguna Springs Drive near Highway 99 lies next door to the , where an outpatient surgery center is currently under construction. It includes three existing office buildings next to a creek and pedestrian path. Two more buildings would need to be constructed to house all of the agency's workers.
E-tran already operates a route that could ferry commuters coming from Sacramento to and from light rail stations and the new site. City spokesperson Christine Brainerd said the city would evaluate whether it needed to expand service to match the increased demand.
The Elk Grove location also comes with an added benefit: free parking.