|Civic Center Project Moves Ahead -
March 29, 2006
At last night’s city Council meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a set of four resolutions intended to advance a plan for moving City staff back to the old City Hall and construct a new Hall of Justice, all at a cost of $78 million.
This initiative has been ongoing for some time but only last night went public because previous discussions have been held in closed session under the pretense that they constitute real property negotiations with the
Project’s design-build team, Richmond Civic Center partners, LLC.
Perhaps because the agenda items (see A and B, below) made no mention of approving a design concept, there was almost no public comment or other expression of interest. One of the resolutions states: “The City Council hereby selects the Phase One Scope of the Civic Center project and directs staff to negotiate the City Hall Agreement for such phase as provided in the ANE (as amended) [Agreement to Negotiate Exclusively).”
Phase One includes the following (see attached PDF file):
The entire project would cost some $78 million to be paid for by a combination of bonds and cash from various sources.
The addition of the Hall of Justice project to Phase One is a relatively recent development, driven partially by the fact that police recruitment is a growing challenge. The current building is functionally obsolete and provides poor working conditions.
I floated an alternative plan that would move the police temporarily out of the Hall of Justice to a location in one of the Marina Bay privately owned new vacant buildings, similar to what we did with City Hall, gut and fully refurbish the existing building to modern standards, then move the police back in. This has pros and cons, but on balance, would be about the same or less cost and could be done more quickly than a new building. It is, however, not getting much traction. Everyone seems enamored with a new police building.
One of the problems with a new police building is that it leaves the existing one sitting vacant and still requiring $20 -$30 million for rehabilitation and no specific assigned use or financing source. Potential uses being discussed range from condominiums to a new library.
A. Adopt a resolution of the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency approving an amendment to the Agreement to Negotiate Exclusively (ANE) by and among the City of Richmond and the Richmond Redevelopment Agency and Richmond Civic Center Partners, LLC in connection with the Civic Center Project – Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency (Steve Duran 307-8041).
B. Adopt a resolution of the City Council of the City of Richmond approving an amendment to the Agreement to Negotiate Exclusively (ANE) by and among the City of Richmond, the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency, and Richmond Civic Center Partners, LLC in connection with the Civic Center Project – City Manager’s Office (Bill Lindsay 620-6512).
C. Adopt a resolution of the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency authorizing the Finance Department to prepare proceedings in connection with the financing of the Civic Center Project and appointing Underwriters, Bond and Disclosure Counsel, and Financial Advisors – Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency (Steve Duran 307-8140).
D. Adopt a resolution of the City Council of the City of Richmond authorizing Finance Department to prepare proceedings in connection with the financing of Civic Center Project and appointing Underwriters, Bond and Disclosure Counsel, and Financial Advisors – City Manager’s Office (Bill Lindsay 620-6512).