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Building new City Hall would save $313 million in long run, new report shows

May 19, 2009 - 7:05 pm

Building a new city hall would, under the most efficient long-term scenario,  save the city of San Diego  $313 million over 50 years, $44 million over 15 years, and cost $15 million over 10 years, a new study (PDF) released by the Centre City Development Corporation shows.

While these figures are roughly in line with previous estimates, the new study, conducted at the request of Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, adds new precision to the costs incurred by staying in the current city hall. Earlier studies had assessed the “Hold steady” or no-new-city-hall option  by considering the necessary improvements required to keep the current city hall running for 30 years, some $125 million including the seismic retrofit.

The new study found that it would cost the city $19.6 million in repairs to stay in the current city hall for five years, followed by a move into the Gerding Edlen-built new Civic Center. It also found that it would cost $40.1 million to stay in the current city hall for 10 years, followed by a move into a new building.  But at this level of expenditure, the clock would be ticking on the decrepit current city hall.

“It should be noted that a minimum expenditure approach to maintaining these buildings over a five-year period, and especially a ten-year period will render these buildings in a condition that will force them to be demolished at the end of the pro forma period,” the report said, italics theirs.

The new report also makes the distinction clearer between the question of whether the city should sell two city-owned blocks near the current city hall to fund the Gerding Edlen proposal. If San Diego keeps the land, it will lease it to Gerding Edlen, and will enjoy the $313 million in savings. If the city  sells the land, the long term savings will be reduced to $267 million over the do-nothing option, and it will also see $30 million in savings on the 10-year time frame.

Tomorrow the CCDC board will meet to discuss sending the project to the City Council, which will have the option of commencing negotiations.

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