Last month Moser Properties, owner of McKinleyville’s Airport Business Park, announced it will be welcoming a new tenant: Humboldt County’s new, state of the art 23,000 square foot Magistrate Courthouse. Construction on the facility will begin in October and will take about a year to complete. When it’s ready the building will replace the current seismically-damaged one at 5th and H streets in Eureka.
The Magistrate Court system is a lower federal court which assists U.S. District Courts, and is often used to issue warrants and review arrests. Civil and criminal cases will also be held at the courthouse, as well as Bankruptcy Court cases, which are a separate division of District Court. The U.S. Marshall’s office, U.S. Attorney’s office, Probation and Pretrial services, and U.S. District Court will also be consolidated into the new building. At full occupancy 29 people will work there.
The U.S. District Court’s Ninth Circuit includes Humboldt and 14 other Northern California counties. The Humboldt County Magistrate Courthouse is the only one in the District outside of the San Francisco Bay area.
The Airport Business Park site was chosen for its proximity to U.S. Highway 101 and the airport, and because all parcels are pre-permitted and ready to build on, with environmental and planning permits in place.
Steve Moser, owner of Moser Properties, is understandably pleased. The courthouse has a 20-year lease and could provide a solid foundation for other businesses. “It will add a great deal of
credibility to McKinleyville and the business park,” said Moser. “It will turn the area into a hub of activity, and may create demand for another motel.”
A Southern California firm specializing in the construction of similar buildings for the Government Service Agency will consult on the project. The GSA is a government agency which owns federal buildings, including courthouses, throughout the country. In this case GSA is acting as a liaison between the property owner and the tenant. Moser was not willing to disclose the name of the firm, nor the cost of the project, citing proprietary information.
Rent for the new courthouse will start at over $1 million per year according to the GSA, or $27 per rentable square-foot, a price GSA representative Traci Madison said was deemed “fair and reasonable for the area.”
The Airport Business Park is currently home to an 84-unit Holiday Inn Express, small businesses, and office space. The business park has been slow to take off, possibly because of its location at the far-northern edge of the Eureka-Arcata mini-metropolis, but Moser feels all that is about to change with the new courthouse.
“It will be a Class-A office building with the finest bells and whistles,” he said. “Federal courthouses have a higher standard for the location than for any other activity.”
So far 10 out of 58 acres of the business park have been developed, with lots ranging in size from ½-acre to 12 acres. In addition to the business park, Moser Properties also owns the Tea Gardens Apartments, the Cedars Apartments, and the Palms Apartments in Arcata.