Lottery Commission Given More Time To Move From OU Building

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The Ohio Lottery Commission — which apparently is hoping to relocate into a yet-to-be-completed office building — will be allowed to keep its regional office in an Ohio University building a while longer, but must downsize its operation.

The lottery office is located in OU’s West Union Street Office Center, but at the end of 2012 tenants in the building were told they would need to move so that the building could be used for university purposes. Tenants were given lease extensions to March 31, and most have made arrangements to be out by then.

“The university has extended the Lottery Commission’s lease to the end of June with the condition that they downsize their footprint in the building by the end of the month (March), and keep only essential personnel in the front office area,” said Donna Coss, OU director of real estate management, community engagement and economic development.

She said the downsizing will enable the university to begin renovations in the space the Lottery Commission vacates by the end of March.

Nancy Couladis, regional director at the commission’s Athens office, said details of how the office will function with the reduced space have not been worked out. The current office includes more than 2,000 square feet of warehouse space, she noted.

Couladis said it’s her understanding that the lottery office will relocate into a building now under construction adjacent to the OU building. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services confirmed Friday that the “proposed location for the new lottery office” is nearby the current office.

That same spokeswoman said in January that the Market on State on East State Street had been visited as a possible location, but nothing had been decided.

The Messenger had reported last summer that Harold Laughlin, former owner and developer of the HDL Center, received city approval to build a $900,000, 8,750-square-foot office building on property next to OU’s West Union Street Office Center. Plans Laughlin submitted to the city showed the Ohio Lottery Commission as a potential tenant.

Several tenants of OU West Union Street Office Center are, in fact, moving to the Market on State. Renovations have been under way there for the new offices of the Ohio Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles, State Highway Patrol Driver License Exam Station and the Athens County Title Office.

Athens County Clerk of Courts Ann Trout, who oversees the Title Office, said Thursday she expects the office to move before the March 31 expiration of its lease at the OU building.

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network has constructed a new building on East State Street. James Karageorge, who is managing principal and branch manager for Wells Fargo Financial Advisors, said the office will close in the OU building on March 21 and reopen on East State Street on March 24.

Peoples Bank closed its branch office in the OU building on Jan. 31. Bank officials did not return phone messages Friday seeking comment on whether the company plans to open the branch office elsewhere.

“My understanding is that they’ve consolidated their operations into the existing local branches,” Goss said.