Proposal for new City Hall to go to voters in November


A City Council committee moved ahead Wednesday with plans to put a proposal for a new City Hall, with a $293.5 million pricetag, before voters in November.

The Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee voted unanimously to forward the project to the full City Council, which will decide whether it should go on the ballot.

The deadline for the City Council to put items on the ballot is Aug. 6.

At the start of today’s hearing, Mayor Jerry Sanders testified that a new City Hall would save San Diego millions of dollars in the long-run by avoiding significant maintenance expenses at the existing building, and because the city wouldn’t have to continue leasing office space for workers at locations around downtown.

“In fact, over the next 10 years we will have to spend over $37 million on Band-Aid repairs to this old facility and we will still need to replace it at the end of 10 years,” Sanders told the committee.

Councilman Todd Gloria described the current City Hall as a “disaster area.”

“We know that staying here will not work,” he said.

Councilwoman Donna Frye said she wants more information on the savings touted by the mayor’s office by building a new City Hall before the project comes before the full council.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer stressed the importance of the “public vetting” of the project.

“I have also said from the beginning, and I know the mayor did, that it was important that the public have the final say on a project of this size and scope,” Faulconer said.

The project, which would be developed by Portland-based Gerding Edlen, calls for a 19-story, 576,000-square-foot building next to the current City Hall, where Golden Hall now stands. It would include a 400-seat council chamber on the second floor and a 1.25-acre public plaza.

If the City Council agrees to put the project on the ballot, and voters approve it, construction would begin in January 2012 and be completed in 2014.