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Fusey Oct 29, 2009 10:18 PM

Land deal would result in high-rise courthouse
County offering state a city block

By Jeff McDonald
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. October 29, 2009

County officials want to give California an entire city block so the state can build a 17-story Superior Court complex that would consolidate services in a new downtown San Diego high-rise.

The building would include 71 courtrooms — a project judges and court administrators say is badly needed. If county Board of Supervisors approves the deal next week, the $660 million development could open in 2015.

“We're really excited about this,” said Kenneth So, presiding judge of the San Diego County Superior Court. “We have a very substandard facility.”

The old county courthouse opened in 1961. When lights need to be changed in his courtroom, So said, men in hazardous-materials suits rope off the area because ceilings are contaminated with asbestos.

His remarks were made during a meeting with The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, attended by other officials as well. The board regularly invites newsmakers to discuss current events.

Historic budget shortfalls earlier this year forced state courts to close one day per month to trim expenses. Even so, San Diego County courts executive Michael Roddy said a new courthouse is needed.

“The real key is to look beyond the short-term economic problems,” Roddy said. “We can't wait another 50 years to build a courthouse.”

A planned tunnel between the central jail and the new courthouse would improve the transporting of inmates, Roddy said. Inmates now are shackled and moved through corridors, often in view of jurors and victims.

The newer Hall of Justice, just west of the old courthouse, would be unaffected.

The site for the new courthouse is known as the Stahlman Block — bounded by Union, West B, State and West C streets. The county has been buying parcels there since supervisors realized they eventually would need more space. The block was appraised last year at about $36 million, Supervisor Greg Cox said.

The high-rise would be built using a portion of the $5 billion in state bond money approved for new courthouses. The money would be repaid through parking and court fee increases.

The San Diego project is considered critical by state officials, and the county is getting a larger share of the state bond money than usual as a result.

“This is a win-win-win,” Cox said. “Usually San Diego County gets the short end of the stick.”

In exchange for giving the state the Stahlman Block, the county would regain ownership of two nearby buildings that supervisors gave to the state last year as part of a mandate to turn over control of county courthouses to California.

The state would also get to use 18,000 square feet of space at the South Bay Regional Center in Chula Vista for four new courtrooms, under the agreement.

The agreement with the state comes just over a year after the county transferred title to its court-only facilities to comply with a 2002 law that required counties to shift ownership of courthouses to the state. Shared-use buildings like the Hall of Justice were not part of the land swap.

Cox said that, short of the land-swap deal, the state probably would have built in Kearny Mesa, where land is cheaper. If that had happened, the county would have been forced to pay millions of extra dollars a year to shuttle detainees from jail to court.

Under the deal, the state would retain the old courthouse property, except the portion north of West B Street.

The two facilities that would return to county ownership are the Madge Bradley Building on Fourth Avenue and the Family Court Building on Sixth Avenue. The state would keep using them until the new courthouse is opened.

Overview:

Background: A 2002 law required counties across California to transfer court facilities to the state.

What's changing: Supervisors will consider giving the state property to build a 17-story courthouse in exchange for two buildings and an underground tunnel to transport inmates between jail and court.

The future: The new high-rise north of the Hall of Justice could open in 2015.

http://media.signonsandiego.com/img/...thouse_map.jpg
http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stori...&zIndex=191026

HurricaneHugo Oct 30, 2009 12:18 AM

what's currently on that site?

Fusey Oct 30, 2009 12:22 AM

Just a flat-surface parking lot and a bail bonds joint.

SDfan Oct 30, 2009 3:40 AM

I can't wait to see the design of the complex. I wonder if it will be similar to the federal courthouse now being constructed?

kpexpress Oct 30, 2009 4:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fusey (Post 4531279)
Just a flat-surface parking lot and a bail bonds joint.

Sofia Hotel parks their valet customer's cars on that lot.

bmfarley Oct 30, 2009 5:16 AM

For interested folks:

CHSRA new vid

leftopolis Oct 30, 2009 7:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SDfan (Post 4531577)
I can't wait to see the design of the complex. I wonder if it will be similar to the federal courthouse now being constructed?

Here's what I came across:
http://www.casd.uscourts.gov/uploads...SD_Cth_New.jpghttp://www.casd.uscourts.gov/uploads...SD_Cth_New.jpg

BTW, here's a render of the library:
http://www.library.ca.gov/lba2000/im...ive%20Best.jpghttp://www.library.ca.gov/lba2000/im...ive%20Best.jpg

tdavis Oct 31, 2009 3:02 AM

Here's a new story on the future of the downtown San Diego library:

http://www.sdgln.com/news/2009/10/30...er-far-reality

Tuesday supporters of a proposed $185 million downtown library in San Diego’s East Village applauded the City Council’s decision to put the plan out to bid. Though it’s an important step forward toward reality, the future of the long-awaited central library remains uncertain.

Since it was first approved in 1995 the library has gone through several designs, two possible locations and one grant extension. The extension came after a threat by the state to pull a $20 million grant unless the city took action. Most recently, the project was altered to include a 450-student charter school. Because of this addition the San Diego Unified School District will pay $20 million in bond money from the 2008 voter approved Proposition S.

The San Diego Public Library Foundation says it has $37 million in pledges from private donors toward building the project. However the $185 million construction estimate for the new central library was made four years ago, and current fundraising estimates have the city coming up almost $40 million short.

Supporters of the library say it wouldn’t cost the city any additional money from the general fund, but those in opposition disagree.

“I’m certainly not opposed to the concept of the library, but due to the city’s $200 million deficit and the economic instability, I don’t think this is the right time to proceed forward as planned” said Lani Lutar, President & CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. “The foundation won’t produce a letter of credit for the pledged money. And should the pledged money not come through San Diego will be forced to make up the difference. Also, the city can’t afford to build the main library because it would increase cities operating costs. You’d have a great downtown library, but at the expense of the branches.”

To date the city of San Diego has spent a little over $17 million in public funds for the project, which currently is an empty lot. The majority of the money spent has gone to the project's chief architects, Rob Wellington Quigley and Tucker Sadler Architects and their subcontractors. The $17 million already spent is part of $80 million of funds from the Center City Development Corporation (CCDC) to help finance construction of the library.

At Tuesday’s meeting three members of the City Council were hesitant to spend any more public funds for bids on the library.

“We are facing 27 percent cuts to all city departments next year,” District One’s Sheri Lightner said. “This central library vision may come at the expense of basic city services upon which all of our constituents rely.”

District Five’s Carl DeMaio proposed shelving the downtown library for now, and re-allocating the $60 million earmarked for the library to repay outstanding debts on Petco Park and the Convention Center.

In a memo from DeMaio to the City Council and Mayor Jerry Sanders dated October 19th, DeMaio says “The potential savings available from abandoning the Downtown Library project display the inaccuracy of the notion that the project has ‘no impact to the General Fund.’ The facts are clear: canceling the Downtown Library provides immediate funds to help close the General Fund budget deficit – and will take pressure off branch libraries that might see cuts and closures in this tough budget year.”

The library ultimately got the six votes needed by the City Council to proceed to the next step. As District Six Councilwoman Donna Frye said at Tuesday’s meeting, “I’d like to know how much it is. What I will do ultimately when you come back with that I don’t know, but I think it’s reasonable to have the opportunity to find out.”

Putting the plan out to bid will cost San Diegans $500,000 in capital improvement funds - $440,800 will be spent on contract amendments and $59,200 will fund additional costs related to the library.

If constructed, the downtown library would be at the center of the city’s library system, including space for adult literacy programs, art exhibits, technical services, a rare book room and a general resource center including information on the entire region.

At Tuesday’s City Coucil meeting Lutar said “instead of proceeding as planned we need to get creative in how we address our cultural needs. If this can be achieved through the redevelopment of a civic center or the joint use of a general library and city hall, and distribution of books through a warehouse it may be more cost effective. The economic situation requires that we explore all options”

The bids should be concluded by May, 2010, which will allow the City Council to make a final decision regarding the future of the library with specific financial figures.

The proposed site of the downtown library is on a vacant lot at J Street and Park Boulevard in East Village, near Petco Park.

dl3000 Oct 31, 2009 4:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leftopolis (Post 4532562)


Thats the federal not the state courthouse.

And thanks bmfarley, nifty video.

Fusey Oct 31, 2009 7:10 PM

The usual weekly article regarding a new stadium for the Chargers:

Quote:

Chargers, San Diego Talk About Stadium Site
By ERIC S. PAGE and TONY SHIN
Updated 12:38 AM PDT, Sat, Oct 31, 2009

The city of San Diego said it's talking to the San Diego Chargers about sites for a new football stadium.

Years ago, the city said it had bigger problems to tackle than a stadium deal. Since then, the Bolts have courted other area cities, including Chula Vista, Oceanside and, just recently, Escondido.

Now the San Diego mayor's office said it has "re-engaged" the Chargers and confirms that the team is looking at several downtown locations. One of those is apparently a site east of Petco Park where the Wonder Bread Bakery currently stands in the 100 block of 14th street.

Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani said that the team has been speaking with the mayor's office since January. On Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chargers President Dean Spanos met privately for the first time since the two sides began talks at the beginning of the year.

In a statement, the Mayor said he wanted to make sure that the city of San Diego was still being considered as a possible location "given the prospect of a new stadium in the city of Industry."

Some have speculated that the Chargers could bolt for the Los Angeles area city if a stadium deal were available.

For its part, the mayor's office has said that Sanders would support any fiscally responsible plan to keep the Chargers in the San Diego region.

Fabiani told NBC 7/39 that the Wonder Bread site near Petco Park would be ideal for a stadium. "It'd also be near the convention center and so you can share resources, like parking, trolley stop, everything is there, everything is ready," Fabiani said.
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/spor...-67798277.html

bmfarley Oct 31, 2009 7:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fusey (Post 4533930)
The usual weekly article regarding a new stadium for the Chargers:


http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/spor...-67798277.html

Except, the downtown site is not really the Wonder Bread site. That building has a very small footprint relative to that needed for a stadium.

Additionally, there is another property that has a much larger footprint and greater influence in the region... MTS. Relocating their facilites is possible, but that dimishes their abilties to provide effecient service and comes at a greater public cost... with long term implications.

leftopolis Nov 1, 2009 12:35 AM

[QUOTE=dl3000;4533772]Thats the federal not the state courthouse.
/QUOTE]

http://cdn.bleacherreport.com/images...02_feature.gif

Thanks for clarifying...If I come across the other one, will post!

voice of reason Nov 1, 2009 4:36 PM

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...7/?latest-news

San Diego Airport rated in top 10 by Conde Nast.
When travelers are asked, they nearly always marvel at the location of the airport and its proximity to areas that they want to visit.

I suppose most of you would like to move the airport for your short-sighted reasons and the tourists be damned.

I get the sense that most dont have a clue what it takes to build an economy.

Go back to your computer games, they keep you from grown up activities in the real world.

Derek Nov 1, 2009 4:37 PM

That story is old as fuck.

dl3000 Nov 1, 2009 6:56 PM

[QUOTE=leftopolis;4534301]
Quote:

Originally Posted by dl3000 (Post 4533772)
Thats the federal not the state courthouse.
/QUOTE]

http://cdn.bleacherreport.com/images...02_feature.gif

Thanks for clarifying...If I come across the other one, will post!

No problem. Thanks

dl3000 Nov 1, 2009 6:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by voice of reason (Post 4534931)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...7/?latest-news

San Diego Airport rated in top 10 by Conde Nast.
When travelers are asked, they nearly always marvel at the location of the airport and its proximity to areas that they want to visit.

I suppose most of you would like to move the airport for your short-sighted reasons and the tourists be damned.

I get the sense that most dont have a clue what it takes to build an economy.

Go back to your computer games, they keep you from grown up activities in the real world.

Yeah because thats the only reason the airport is any good. :rolleyes:

Helps to have flights from more markets and the current airport can't do that. Shortsighted my ass.

glowrock Nov 1, 2009 7:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fusey (Post 4533930)
The usual weekly article regarding a new stadium for the Chargers:


http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/spor...-67798277.html

I see San Diego is yet another city stuck in the rut of revolving sports stadiums for greedy-ass teams who want nothing more than to have shiny new facilities built almost entirely on the backs of the taxpayers. How pleasant... ;)

Of course, I'll be the first one to say that Jack Murphy, err, Qualcomm, err, whatever the hell it's called now, is an outdated POS... Building a stadium in or near downtown makes a lot of sense, though I don't think it will do as much for the area as, say, Petco Park did. Not enough games played every year, not enough year-round usage of the stadium...

Aaron (Glowrock)

glowrock Nov 1, 2009 7:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by voice of reason (Post 4534931)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...7/?latest-news

San Diego Airport rated in top 10 by Conde Nast.
When travelers are asked, they nearly always marvel at the location of the airport and its proximity to areas that they want to visit.

I suppose most of you would like to move the airport for your short-sighted reasons and the tourists be damned.

I get the sense that most dont have a clue what it takes to build an economy.

Go back to your computer games, they keep you from grown up activities in the real world.

What a freaking joke! While yes, Lindbergh Field has an amazing location for tourists, public transit access to and from the airport is pretty pathetic right now, and of course there's the little problem called the airport is woefully outdated, operates with only one runway, and has absolutely no expansion room whatsoever.

San Diego needs a new airport, no question about it. However, I see no reason why it can't operate with two mid-sized airports, instead of building a huge new one and closing up Lindbergh... Of course, closing Lindbergh would lead to a removal of the 500' height restriction, so that could be a good thing, but the overall costs would probably be prohibitive.

Aaron (Glowrock)

Fusey Nov 1, 2009 8:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmfarley (Post 4533969)
Except, the downtown site is not really the Wonder Bread site. That building has a very small footprint relative to that needed for a stadium.

Additionally, there is another property that has a much larger footprint and greater influence in the region... MTS. Relocating their facilites is possible, but that dimishes their abilties to provide effecient service and comes at a greater public cost... with long term implications.

Yeah, that's why this concept is dead on arrival. Even if you moved the bus depot all of the empty trolley cars and stored and maintained nearby. I imagine it shares many of the mechanics, drivers, and supervisors with those at the bus depot.

bmfarley Nov 3, 2009 4:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fusey (Post 4535274)
Yeah, that's why this concept is dead on arrival.

Yes, we're in agreement.


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