Monday, November 2, 2009

San Diego Begins Negoiations for New Superior Court

New Courthouses Are In the Works for the State of California

County officials want to give the State of California a city block so the state can replace the old county courthouse originally built in 1961 with a 17-story Superior Court complex that would consolidate services in a new downtown San Diego high-rise courthouse building. The building would include 71 courtrooms — of which there is a great need. If the deal is approved the $550 million construction project could be completed by 2015.

The newer Hall of Justice, just west of the old courthouse, would be unaffected.
The site for the new courthouse is known as the “Stahlman Block” which is bounded by Union, West B, State and West C streets. The county has been buying parcels there since supervisors realized they eventually would need more space. The block was appraised last year at about $36 million.

The high-rise would be built using a portion of the $5 billion in state bond money approved for new courthouses. The money would be repaid through parking and court fee increases.

The San Diego project is considered critical by state officials, and the county is getting a larger share of the state bond money than usual as a result. In exchange for giving the state the Stahlman Block, the county would regain ownership of two nearby buildings that supervisors gave to the state last year.

The two facilities that would return to county ownership are the Madge Bradley Building on Fourth Avenue and the Family Court Building on Sixth Avenue. The state would keep using them until the new courthouse is opened.

Many other counties are looking at upgrading court facilities. The courthouses are outdated and crowded. New facilities are needed throughout the state.

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