State agency uses prime offices as storage space

5 Eyewitness News ran a follow-up piece on their office space story, both featuring FFM investigative research. The follow up to the original piece including video can be viewed here or read below. 

State agency uses prime offices as storage space

In a follow up to an investigation, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS revealed that a state agency is using pricey offices as storage space.

The initial investigation showed the State of Minnesota will spend more than $60 million this year to rent office space some of which is in located in prime real estate areas and features expensive views. 

For example, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency leases space in a building across from Mears Park in St. Paul.

In April, through a window, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS saw stacks of boxes in the offices.

Video shot in February by the government watchdog group Minnesota Freedom Foundation also showed boxes. It also showed office supplies and even a bike stored in the office space.

Jonathan Blake of the Freedom Foundation, said "An incredible number of filing cabinets. An incredible number of boxes floor to ceiling, not just in the common areas but in four or five offices, I mean it is ridiculous, it is unbelievable waste."

The agency said the owner of the building moved the boxes into the office space from a less expensive storage area in the basement.

The space is being rented at $9 a square foot. So the state is paying more than $21,000 a year for the offices which are being used as storage space.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS found a storage facility ten minutes from downtown St. Paul that features a climate-controlled building and security. The space rents for about $1.50 a square foot.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reviewed what the state pays to lease storage space.

The costs range from $0.28 per square foot in Sandstone to more than $21 a square foot at a location in Rochester.

People in the storage business said $21 a square foot is nearly 14 times the average cost of storage space.


Click here to watch the original investigation.


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