Saturday, May 22, 2010

Courthouse Could Rise on Capitol Mall?

Bob Shallit of the Sac Bee’s reporting that two locations are now under consideration to build a new state courthouse. The newest spot is now at the abandon Towers site at 3rd and Capitol with negotiations starting this summer. The original site for the 12-to-16-story, $540 million courts building was to be between Fifth and Sixth streets, just north of H, on the edge of the downtown rail yard. To pay for the building, Sacramento County will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in court revenue bond funding from SB 1407 (Perata) in 2008, which authorized the issuance of $5 billion in revenue bonds to fund court construction projects in the State. Nacht & Lewis Architects and HOK have been chosen to design a new courthouse in Sacramento.

Why would they consider moving this project so far from jail where prisoners would then have to be transported on the streets to and from the court everyday? This makes no since to me? The original plan was to build the courthouse at the corner of 5th & H Street that included a tunnel under ground where inmates could be moved to and from the jail with vary little risk of escape. The H Street locations also better because the lands owned by the county, where as the Capitol Mall land is not.

I hope they keep with the original plan to build by the rail yards, the proximity to the jail would save the county lots of money in the long run.


Lorenzo said...

Unless the new courthouse is directly attached the jail, in-custody defendants must be transported by van or bus. At that point, it does not matter if the court building is one block away from the jail, or 10 blocks. Also, most in-custody defendants are transferred from the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in the southern part of the County, so proximity to the jail is ultimately not a critical factor. Still, the Sacramento County parking deck location across from the existing courthouse (between H, G, 7th, and 8th Streets) would be an ideal location for a new courthouse, and that location could be attached to the jail in the future. But, you must understand that the court is a State project, and movement of in-custody defendants is a County responsibility, and the cost of a tunnel or bridge would have to be a County expense. It would be costly, but would eventually pay for itself. The parking deck site, however, is owned by the County, serves the parking needs of the adjacent County buildings, and is not being offered to the State as a possible building site since it would leave many County staff and the visitors they serve without parking. Of the sites that are up for consideration, none is superior relative to in-custody movement. However, there are a myriad of other factors that will need to be considered to determine which site is most beneficial to the State, the County, City, and the environment.

Zwahlen Images said...

Thanks Lorenzo, from what I read when this building was first proposed, it was to be connected to the main jail.

Can you explain why a 16 story building cost a half a billion dollars to build? Compared to other local state projects, the tax payers appear to be getting ripped off. Although my examples below are a few years old, it demonstrates what just under $400 million built in 2003 compared to this project which will less that half the square footage of the East End Project. It’s ridiculous that a office building of this size needs to cost this much and explains why the State has gone broke.

Federal Courthouse, 6th and I Streets
Project Description: Construction of a 16-story, 380,000 sf office building fo rthe United States Federal Courts. 19 courtrooms.
Total Project Cost: $134 million
Date of Completion: 1999

State of California East End Project, 15th and Capitol Mall
Project Description: Construction of 1,470,000 gross sf of office and retail.Approx. $4.2 million was allocated for housing, preservation, lighting and park enhancements.
Total Project Cost: $392 million
Date of Completion: 2003

Alena said...

They're incorporating LEED into the courthouse, just like they did for the Capitol East End building which does up the price of the facility a little but it also pays off in the long run with more efficient HVAC systems, plumbing and lighting.