OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The BART Board of Directors Thursday approved a plan to spend $227 million to purchase and renovate a building in downtown Oakland to use as the transit agency’s headquarters.

The lease on BART’s current headquarters near the Lake Merritt station expires in July 2021 and the landlord has indicated he will likely seek a hefty rent increase.

Officials said the new headquarters will save the agency money and allow it to centralize operations. They estimate a saving of at least $210 million over 25 years.

“It will also spur BART administrative staff to downsize their footprint and become more productive through modern, collaborative work practices,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty.

BART currently is leasing 369,000 rentable square feet of office space consisting of 14 floors with its Board room in a separate building. The new headquarters is 244,000 square feet with ten floors. It will have fewer private offices and more conference areas and work spaces.

Transit officials said the $142 million will be spent to purchase the building with $85 million going for interior construction. Those dollars would be financed by a 25-year sales tax bond.

BART’s administrative headquarters have been located at 300 Lakeside since 2003, when the agency was forced to move to a leased space after the original headquarters building it owned at Lake Merritt Station was determined to be seismically unfit.

“BART has a rich history in Oakland and has called it home since the day they opened for business,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Owning a building in Oakland will keep their workforce centrally located and close to many of their critical facilities.”

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