A New San Diego Civic Center?


Ok so I hope you’ve read the initial part in my series on downtown San Diego, which featured 5 projects that all have been profitable for the city. I wanted to look back at what has worked in San Diego to see if that can be applied to the present key choice which is facing the mayor/city council and CCDC……whether or not or not to tear down the present Civic Center complicated and have it rebuilt.

Some information relating to the circumstance:

-San Diego has 3,000 city workers with offices downtown

-1,000 are situated in the Civic Center

-two,000 are located off web site exactly where the city rents office space at a price of approximately $ 13M per year. Rents are normally nicely beneath market place rate for now, with the vast majority of leases set to expire in 2013-2014. The city does not believe it will be attainable to obtain below average rents again as the workplace vacancy rate for downtown is around 5% with no key job losses, or new space coming obtainable in the close to or medium term.

-The Civic Center itself is in require of renovation. San Diego has deferred maintaince on the facility for some time which has left exposed asbestos and a high rise without fire sprinklers amongst other significant safety issues. Maybe the biggest concern being the truth that no seismic retrofit has ever been performed. The expense of these upgrades, which would simply bring the offices to a usable state is estimated at $ 125M.

Ok, so I’m confident every person can see the two choices that are available: Re-build, or Renovate.

If you happen to be asking yourself why I am not including a Do-Nothing at all strategy, I frankly do not believe it’s reasonable or fair to anticipate any person to work in an unsafe environment, specifically if they work for a regional government. Furthermore most projections show that there are issues about the creating actually falling over in 10 years if no function is carried out.

I’m also going to assume that the figures from the private consultant are precise. For the most component there are been few arguments with the numbers they developed.

Some figures from Jones Lang LaSalle(a Washington DC primarily based consultant firm):

The renovate approach would save the city $ 8.5M more than the very first 10 years.
The rebuild strategy would save the city $ 58M over the 1st 15 years.
The rebuild apprach would save the city $ 232M more than the next 50 years.

So the query really is-How significantly sacrifice must a city government be prepared to make over the next 10 years, starting in this poor economy in order to have substancial savings down the line.

This choice appears pretty easy, but it is complicated drastically by the fact that the city is in some critical debt. In 2004 it was referred to as “Enron by the Sea” by USA Today.

The city is already cutting solutions like fire, police and library hours and locations due to the economic downtown. I am not positive they could even come up with the $ 850k in savings each and every year to make the project come about at this point, but it undoubtedly seems to me like some thing the mayor should be attempting to accomplish offered the huge extended term advantages…though he has currently stated that the project will not move forward if it does not save the city income from day one particular.

It’s too bad actually. I bet if they really wanted to they could uncover a way to fund the very first two-3 years of the project prior to the economy turns around(how about canceling some of the visitors improvements downtown which price $ 250k per traffic light?).

I will also bet that in 20 years the city is going to be wishing it had a newer facility as well as the $ 6M per year in savings. Believe about how a lot of traffic improvements, police officers, firefighters that could get you.