Lightner, others, support putting City Hall redevelopment to vote

Four City Council members committed Wednesday to a public vote on the proposed redevelopment of the San Diego City Hall complex.

Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer, Carl DeMaio and Donna Frye said that despite ongoing negotiations with a potential developer, they will not proceed with building a new City Hall unless the project is put to voters for approval.

The four stated their position in a memo to Mayor Jerry Sanders and the rest of the council.

“It is essential the public is part of the approval process for a new Civic Center through a vote of the people,” Faulconer said.

Sanders has already pledged that ultimately voters will decide if San Diego gets a new City Hall.

The City Council voted 5-3 last October to enter into exclusive negotiations with Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen. The agreement was intended to lead to a concrete estimate of how much the project will cost and to finalize its design.

Lightner, DeMaio and Frye voted against entering into the negotiation agreement with the developer because language was not included that would commit the project to a public vote.

Gerding Edlen has proposed replacing San Diego’s aging, 1960s-era City Hall with a 33-story, 964,000-square-foot glass and steel tower with an adjacent council chamber. Subsequent phases would lead to the redevelopment of the surrounding Civic Center buildings with retail, commercial and office space.

Early estimates put the cost of the project at about $440 million.