Bastille in Hanford

This is a view of the vacant interior of the Bastille in Hanford.

Sentinel file photos

HANFORD – Faced with rising maintenance costs and other issues at some city-owned downtown buildings, the Hanford City Council will discuss Tuesday whether to keep them or initiate the process to clear the way for their potential sale.

On the list up for discussion: The Bastille, the Old Courthouse and the Rabobank building.

The Bastille, the former historic Kings County Jail, has been vacant since 2009 and is in a state of deterioration.

A developer last year proposed putting a microbrewery in the Bastille, but the proposal collapsed when city leaders balked at the $2 million to $2.25 million the developer wanted them to spend up front on improvements to the building.

The city was already preparing to do some exterior structural upgrades that were first estimated to be in the $600,000 range. 

Bids for the project recently came in "higher than budgeted," according to a city document.

The document doesn't state how much over budget the bids were.

As for the Old Courthouse, which is partially occupied by tenants, a recent study found that the city lost nearly $100,000 on the building in the 2015-2016 fiscal year because of maintenance needs and other costs.

Officials say the historic three-story structure needs at least $390,000 in upgrades.

As for the Rabobank building, which is the former Hanford post office, it's currently occupied by Rabobank.

On Tuesday, the council will also discuss whether or not to clear the way for the potential sale of 18 vacant acres adjacent to Hidden Valley Park.

The empty land has been vacant for decades. Officials estimate the property costs $2,500 a year to maintain but brings in no income to the city.

In other business, the council will discuss whether to have a special election in August to raise the hotel tax from 8 percent to 12 percent.

The taxes are paid by people who stay overnight at Hanford motels and hotels.

If approved by Hanford voters, the additional 4 percent would go toward downtown revitalization programs.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in council chambers inside the Civic Auditorium in Hanford.

The reporter can be reached at snidever@hanfordsentinel.com or 583-2432. 

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