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-   -   SAN DIEGO | Boom Rundown, Vol. 2 (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=126473)

mello Jul 26, 2008 10:46 AM

Looks like this city could finally be on the verge of getting an iconic structure. Too bad it is kind of in the middle of the skyline and can't be seen from the water front. The only truely classic structure built in the last ten years is Petco. Some of our new buildings are nice but nothing great.

This Gerding project looks to be something that San Diego can really be proud of, something that is somewhat unique.

Does anyone have any recent photos of downtown from Harbor Island so we can see the impact that Bayside and Sapphire are having on the skyline? If so it would be a nice addition to the thread, thanks. I'm not living in SD now so I can't just go down and look ;)

malsponger Jul 26, 2008 8:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3695531)
Both proposals would demolish all of the existing structures and rebuild new ones. No rehab.

Answered my question. I like the location of the area but it is utterly hideous and unless I worked for the city i'd never want to step foot near it. Good to know itll start with a clean slate and bring some life to the area.

keg92101 Jul 27, 2008 7:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3695531)
I think the comment referred to the site plan. Both proposals would demolish all of the existing structures and rebuild new ones. No rehab.

The City is not taking a lead role in developing sustainable buildings, they are merely the tenant (and potential land owner).

LEED certification is a noble endeavor. The initial building costs will be higher (and more difficult to finance) and rents will need to be adjusted to pay for it but the long term cost savings should be measurable.

LEED certification doesn't cost a dime more (other than the registration fees) here in California. With title 24 requirements, we have found that certification doesn't add any costs, Silver/Gold maybe .5% higher. Its Platinum that starts to push the costs into the 1-2% of additional cost. However, GED, since all they do are LEED buildings, probably have a handle on the additional costs.

Kingofthehill Jul 28, 2008 2:36 AM

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=154976

Derek Jul 28, 2008 2:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kingofthehill (Post 3698141)

A break from the madness! :D

Marina_Guy Jul 28, 2008 2:15 PM

New Leader???
 
The same old, Same old in San Diego. San Diegan's keep electing people like this. We get what we vote for. I really think it is about time to break up the City of San Diego. The City is too large and you have people who have no interest in a 'City' making decisions for the City. We must have the 'largest non-city geographic area' of any large city. Thoughts?

=====
New City Hall: Wrong Project, Wrong Priority
By Carl DeMaio



Monday, July 28, 2008 | What's wrong with this picture? The city of San Diego is still in its worse financial crisis in its history, faces billions in debt for pension and retiree healthcare obligations, is $900 million behind on maintenance of public infrastructure, and only 37 percent of our city's roads are rated in "acceptable" condition by national benchmarks.

So what are city leaders poised to do? Build a new City Hall!
Carl DeMaio

This week the city of San Diego released designs from two competing developers proposing the construction of a new civic complex -- complete with new offices for the mayor and City Council and 700,000 square feet of office space for city workers. A private developer would be given development rights to a portion of the civic complex in exchange for building (and then renting to the city) a new City Hall.

Project backers are making the bold claim that the entire project will actually end up saving the city money in the long run.

While I have long been a champion of public-private partnerships, I have serious reservations about proceeding forward with a new City Hall.

Not only do I question the financial assumptions being used to make the claim that the project "saves money," but I strongly believe our top priorities in infrastructure investment should be repairing streets and improving public safety facilities and equipment. In short, I fear that a new City Hall is the wrong project at the wrong time.
Related Links


CCDC Civic Center Project Links

The project explicitly assumes long-term "cost avoidance" savings to justify the financial projections. Translation: the city is taking a "stop me before I spend" approach to projecting cost savings on this project.

Let me put this approach to financial forecasting in everyday terms:

Your spouse wants to buy a brand new house. To convince you it is actually financially advantageous, your spouse gives you a list of improvements to remodel your current house. Your spouse then projects an increase in the family and presumes a need for more storage space. Your spouse therefore adds a rental unit to the forecast.

At the same time, you are financially in over your head as it is -- your car is broken, your kids do not have money for college, and you face massive credit card debt. Do you make the leap, buy the house, and hope the financial savings materialize? Or do you question your spouses' assumptions, raise the need to fund other priorities first, and suggest alternatives?

Let's take a closer look at the financial assumptions being made by project backers.

First, the project assumes a staggering $125 million price tag to renovate the existing City Hall complex. Anyone who has visited City Hall will readily admit the building is in sad shape. No doubt some of these improvements need to be made to extend the life of the facility, but the list of repairs and improvements is loaded up like a Christmas tree. Certainly we do not have to make all of the proposed renovations, and as such the $125 million figure ought to be questioned before being blindly accepted in any project financial assessment.

The second element of purported financial savings comes in the form of "lease savings" projected over the next 50 years.

The city currently leases $13.5 million worth of office space in commercial buildings -- leases that expire in the next four years and may be subject to rent increases. The project presumes not only the base $13.5 million but hefty escalators to inflate the cost of not building a new City Hall.

However, there are several problems with that rationale. First, a recent study indicates that the city currently uses 30 percent more space downtown than it actually needs. The city currently rents 1 million square feet when it could get by on 700,000 square feet.

Second, the long-term financial forecast assumes a 0.6 percent increase in the size of the city workforce annually. At a time when the city faces a structural budget deficit, we need to be cutting the size of the city workforce, not expanding it.

The city recently committed to managed competition -- wherein we can reduce the size of the city workforce. An added benefit of managed competition is in many cases it shifts the financial responsibility for providing offices for staff to contractors who win the competitions for city functions.
*

Instead of debating the design of a new City Hall to house a large city workforce, let's get aggressive with cutting back the size of the city workforce today, and in four years, we may be ready to actually give up those leases that are slated to expire.

Finally, the city ought to consider harnessing the potential of all of its office space across the city and redeploying some staff outside of downtown. Take the criminal division of the city attorney's office for example. How about locating them in the new court complex being planned? Or how about co-locating our criminal division with the district attorney's criminal division to not only save office space, but encourage mentorship and coordination between the two law enforcement entities.

Like other cities across the nation, we need to embrace new thinking about how and where we deploy our city workforce. Let's get city workers closer to the citizen and into front-line service positions, rather in a big centralized building downtown.

Switching gears from the financial assumptions, I question the appropriateness of making a new City Hall a priority when we are so far behind on community infrastructure. The city ought to be looking at all of its assets to generate resources to fund street repairs and public safety infrastructure in our neighborhoods.

Not only is community infrastructure lost in this discussion, but the city bureaucracy's handling of this project -- and several other high profile projects -- demonstrates they lack a global view to asset management. We have one group working on a new downtown library. We have another group proposing expanding the convention center. Yet another group is starting to talk about the Sports Arena. And of course we have a whole team working on this new City Hall project.

Yet no one is talking to each other to see how to leverage these existing assets to not only achieve some of the individual project objectives, but free up resources to invest in community infrastructure. We need a global and strategic view -- and it is my hope that the questions I am raising on the new City Hall will get that kind of creative thinking going.

The city taxpayers have been burned in the past on rosy financial projections. Instead of taking its time to conduct adequate financial reviews, the city is slated to approve this project in the next 75 days -- yes, 75 days.

What's worse, the outgoing City Council scheduled to vote on the project in November -- the same City Council that has dropped the ball on so many financial issues during the past eight years. The questions surrounding this project require more time to review the financial assumptions as well as time to explore more creative alternatives. That job should be left to the incoming City Council.

While raising questions on the proposed new City Hall may upset some who want to see quick action on what they consider a magnificent revitalization project around the civic complex, I ran on a platform of being the taxpayers' watchdog and asking tough questions. That is exactly what I am going to do on this and other high-risk projects: ask tough questions, challenge assumptions, and hopefully produce a better and more financially responsible outcome for the taxpayers.

Carl DeMaio was elected to the San Diego City Council on June 3, 2008 and assumes office in December. You can e-mail him at carl@carldemaio.com. Or set the tone of the debate with a letter to the editor.

Fusey Jul 28, 2008 3:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marina_Guy (Post 3698729)
I really think it is about time to break up the City of San Diego. The City is too large and you have people who have no interest in a 'City' making decisions for the City.

San Ysidro should be its own suburb. The far northern areas of San Diego (Mira Mesa) as well.

bmfarley Jul 28, 2008 4:33 PM

Carl has a couple points.

However, I would like to see city personnel and functions remain downtown and not dispersed elsewhere. Downtown personnel add to the vitality and business climate of the city center.

I'd support, at least personnally, an accounting or audit effort of the existing city center to identify appropriate fixes and associated costs. The city council should also decide which fixes would be pursued for the purpose of providing a financial comparison of the Gerding or Hines plans. But keep in mind... the intangibles of creating and revitalizing the city center with something awesome.

staplesla Jul 30, 2008 1:55 AM

Email I got today from the CCDC regarding the Harbor Dr. pedestrian bridge:

In deference to the pending grant request before the California Transportation Commission that will be heard in late August, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge is being postponed.

We sincerely apologize for the short notice and appreciate your understanding and cooperation.


PROJECT BACKGROUND: Fulfilling a California Public Utilities Commission requirement, the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge is being built across Harbor Drive at Park Boulevard . When complete, the stylized bridge will appear to sail into San Diego ’s skyline as it unites downtown’s urban core. Designed to be one of the longest self-anchored pedestrian suspension bridges in the world, the iconic structure will:

Realize the 100-year vision to link two important regional assets: Balboa Park and San Diego Bay
Reopen Harbor Drive at Park Boulevard
Provide a safe pedestrian crossing over Harbor Drive and existing train and trolley tracks
Add public open space and art.

The Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge is a uniquely funded project and is a collaboration of local, state, regional and federal agencies, including the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), California Transportation Commission, CCDC, working on behalf of the City of San Diego and its Redevelopment Agency, JMI Realty, the Federal Highway Administration, SANDAG and the Unified Port of San Diego. Submissions for additional funding continue.



For more details about the bridge including design elements, timelines, project team members and more, visit www.ccdc.com and click on the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge Link.

SDCAL Jul 30, 2008 7:53 AM

Carl Demaio sounds like an idiot

Dispersing governement employees in different areas in an already spread-out non-dense city is a terrible idea

Downtown is centrally located when you consider people coming in from Chula Vista, Encinitas and El Cajon. If try and bring an office closer to some people, you will just be making it that much further for other people

Downtown is also the mass-transit hub of the county, where the precious little mass transit our city has is located. Spreading this offices all over will just create more sprawl and traffic with less mass transit options

I am scared to think this guy was just elected. I hope the rest of the city council shuts him up

Marina_Guy Jul 30, 2008 4:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDCAL (Post 3703191)
Carl Demaio sounds like an idiot

...

I am scared to think this guy was just elected. I hope the rest of the city council shuts him up

Oh he and Donna Frye are new buddies. This City has a long way to go before it can become 'progressive'. This pension mess EXCUSE will just leave San Diego far behind its West Coast counterparts.

sandiego_urban Jul 31, 2008 12:11 AM

Some good news outside of downtown is that the UTC expansion plan passed unanimously with surprise, surprise, only Donna Frye voting against it.

Check out the plan here - http://westfield.com/thenewutc/visio.../overview.html


Article from today's U-T -

City Council approves plan to expand UTC

By Ronald W. Powell
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

July 30, 2008

LA JOLLA – The $900 million plan to transform the Westfield University Towne Center mall into a walkable village received the approval of the City Council yesterday after public testimony showed how much the proposal has divided the community since it was submitted seven years ago.

Residents told the council how they feared the project would exacerbate traffic congestion and noise. They said it should be redesigned in a way that satisfies more neighbors.

Supporters said the project is a rare opportunity to provide north San Diego with a true town center, complete with shopping, housing, movie theaters, restaurants and other attractions.

They said remaking the 1970s-era shopping center into a modern mixed-use community would prompt people to leave their cars at home and walk.

After a four-hour hearing, council members decided 7-1 that the plan should proceed, approving a master plan development permit, a general plan amendment, the environmental impact report and other requirements. Councilwoman Donna Frye voted against it.

Westfield Corp. still has to work out several issues to obtain a construction permit from the city, but its revitalization plan for UTC is in motion.

Council President Scott Peters, whose district includes the property, said he is happy to see the project approved as he nears the end of his final term. He said the creation of a walkable town center will greatly benefit the area.

All development will take place on the current 76-acre site, bounded by Towne Centre Drive, La Jolla Village Drive, Genesee Avenue, and Nobel Drive. It will include:

- 750,000 square feet of new retail space, including three new anchor stores and 150 shops and specialty boutiques. The center now has 1 million square feet of retail.

- 250 to 300 condominiums, with 10 percent of them reserved as affordable. There will be two condo towers with one rising as high as 23 stories and the other as much as 15 stories.

- A movie theater.

- As much as 5,000 square feet of office space.

- At least 3,000 new parking spaces, many of them in three new parking garages.

- Five new restaurants, a wine bar and bistros.

- A transit center for buses.

Westfield is donating land it says is worth $8 million for the transit center, but financing for the facility has not been worked out.

The revitalized UTC is expected to bring an additional 18,000 car trips daily to the area.

George Lattimer, a member of the University Community Planning Group, which voted 14-2-1 against the project on June 10, said any additional traffic in the community should be reserved for the development of more science and research firms.

“It should be for technology, not for the sale of shirts and blouses,” he said.

But groups lined up behind Westfield. The supporters included the San Diego Economic Development Corp., the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., the Asian Business Association and the Cinema Society of San Diego. Carpenters and other construction workers jammed the council chambers in lime-green shirts provided by Westfield to cheer the proposal to passage.

Greg Fitchitt, Westfield's director of development, said the project will feature solar power and water.

“We're turning a '70s style mall into a sustainable community,” Fitchitt said.

keg92101 Jul 31, 2008 4:38 AM

What does Donna Frye believe in? She is pro-environment, yet against EVERY SINGLE infill project that is ever before the city council? It will be a great day when she is no longer part of our city council.

SDCAL Jul 31, 2008 8:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by keg92101 (Post 3705318)
What does Donna Frye believe in? She is pro-environment, yet against EVERY SINGLE infill project that is ever before the city council? It will be a great day when she is no longer part of our city council.

I am in favor of the UTC expansion (I would be even happier about a HORTON PLAZA renovation),

but I have to admit Donna Frye has a legitimate gripe - they delivered the environmental impact report which was 71 pages literally minutes before the vote. There is no way the council could have read and considered it when voting - and Frye claims she tried to read it during the hearing. Regardless of what side we are on, that was pretty inappropriate. I always figured the city council looks at ALL relevant documentation before rendering decisions, but this shows they don't

While I think Frye is in the right in her complaint and I admire her environmental stance, I do agree that some of the infill projects she is against make no sense because they actually help the environment by focusing on density

bmfarley Jul 31, 2008 8:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDCAL (Post 3705557)
I am in favor of the UTC expansion (I would be even happier about a HORTON PLAZA renovation),

but I have to admit Donna Frye has a legitimate gripe - they delivered the environmental impact report which was 71 pages literally minutes before the vote. There is no way the council could have read and considered it when voting - and Frye claims she tried to read it during the hearing. Regardless of what side we are on, that was pretty inappropriate. I always figured the city council looks at ALL relevant documentation before rendering decisions, but this shows they don't

While I think Frye is in the right in her complaint and I admire her environmental stance, I do agree that some of the infill projects she is against make no sense because they actually help the environment by focusing on density

Also irksom... and consistent with the no positions on density... she opposes tall buildings. That would likely put the Gerdin Civic Center Plan in her gun sights.

OCtoSD Aug 1, 2008 6:29 PM

Isn't downtown la Jolla kind of a center for north county. Relative to what we have in OC seems like a center to me.

bmfarley Aug 2, 2008 2:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCtoSD (Post 3708926)
Isn't downtown la Jolla kind of a center for north county. Relative to what we have in OC seems like a center to me.

It depends what you consider downtown La Jolla. It could be one of two places... on the cove or in UTC area. The later has more taller buildings.

PadreHomer Aug 2, 2008 3:04 AM

Why does every good, iconic, smart, lasting and great project become the scapegoat for San Diego's problems when the major one remains the public employees unions and their pension boondoggle?

I thought thats why San Diegans elected Mike Aguirre, to go after the PENSION deals. What the hell happened?

mello Aug 4, 2008 3:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCtoSD (Post 3708926)
Isn't downtown la Jolla kind of a center for north county. Relative to what we have in OC seems like a center to me.

No I wouldn't really say it is a center for North County. To me North County really starts around Carmel Valley Road or Del Mar Heights.

UTC and to some extent the office district in La Jolla right by the coast is a large employment center for the county. I don't think anyone would really say that UTC is "North County" it is actually right in the middle of the population. From Oceanside it is a 25 minute drive and to the border it is a 25 minute drive (without traffic) so it is a very central part of the county.

I would say without traffic it is about 25 minutes from both Escondido and El Cajon as well. I am waiting for a North County city to really develope in to some kind of Second City for the County similar to Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, and Pasadena in LA County those 4 cities are much more built up then any non core city in SD County.

laguna Aug 4, 2008 5:12 AM

north county
 
I always feel like I am getting into north county when I pass Del Mar Racetrack. I think Carlsbad is the real powerhouse economically in the north.


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