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The motor vehicle office in the Dunkirk & Fredonia Plaza may be ready within two months, Chautauqua County Executive Andrew Goodell said Monday.

"We have a verbal agreement with (New Plan Realty Trust), the owner of the D&F Plaza," Goodell said. "It was a long negotiating process. We began with more than $9 per square foot and ended with $7.50 per square foot. The owner will renovate the space to county specifications."

The space is in a former bank at the western end of the plaza. A drive-through window will be available for customers' convenience.

The Environmental Health Department will join the motor vehicle office in the building. Both are now located in a county-owned building at 15 Lucas Ave.

Other departments now located at 15 Lucas are to be moved into the Graf Building, 319 Central Ave. The county offices will take the second and third floors of the three-story building.

The first floor will be used for retail space, according to Daniel Reininga of Graf Realty Co., owner of the building.

Renovation of the space to be leased by the county could cost $1 million to $1.3 million, according to Goodell. The renovations are to take six to eight months, Reininga said.

"That's a fraction of the cost of a new building," Reininga said. "The building will be on the tax roll. The hustle and bustle of the retail space and the 50 county workers will be a shot in the arm for downtown. It's a win-win situation.

"It's the largest vacant building in the area."

The county and the city are still working on parking arrangements for both county workers and patrons of the building.

Departments and offices to be moved to the downtown building include central services, health, probation, veterans and mental health. Most are located at 15 Lucas.

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