A 445-foot tall glass and steel tower combined with a smaller adjacent podium building will replace the former downtown San Diego County Courthouse under plans by a Washington state developer.
Called Courthouse Commons, the 37-story project at 220 W. Broadway by Holland Partner Group of Vancouver would be among several new downtown projects aimed at luring new businesses to the city’s core.
Estimated to cost $400 million, the mixed-use project would include 270,493 square feet of office space, 18,595 square feet of commercial space, and 431 apartments.
The office space is different for downtown because of its size with large floor plates of 30,000 to 35,000 square feet, said Brent Schertzer, managing partner of Holland Partner Group.
“The goal is to attract (office) tenants to downtown that haven’t had that type of space. That type of space hasn’t been available downtown previously,” said Schertzer. “We’re really trying to attract more tech office type tenants into the projects.”
Victor Krebs, a senior vice president of the commercial real estate brokerage Colliers International, said the project “activates the west side of Broadway with more residences and modern office space, giving residents and businesses more options.”
“It will invigorate that area even further,” Krebs said.
Construction Work, Permits
Built in the early 1960s, the old courthouse will be razed to make way for the new project. It was replaced by a new courthouse in 2017 at 1100 Union St.
“We’re starting abatement work and demolition on the building,” Schertzer said. “That’s all just started this month.”
Demolition and abatement work is projected to cost about $45 million.
Construction of the new project is slated to break ground in April next year and be finished in June 2023.
Holland Partner Group was selected for the project by San Diego County supervisors in October last year and paid $5 million to acquire the property, Schertzer said.
As part of the deal, Holland agreed to build a tunnel connecting the San Diego County Central Jail on Front Street to the new courthouse.
“We’re in the middle of permitting that right now,” Schertzer said.
The 431 apartments in the tower building will include 87 designated as low-income units with rents set by the San Diego Housing Commission under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines.
Civic San Diego, in its report on the project, estimated that monthly rents would range from about $850 for a studio apartment to about $1,200 for a three-bedroom apartment under HUD guidelines.
The agency is losing its permitting and approval authority in the settlement earlier this year of a 2015 lawsuit, but the courthouse project remains under Civic San Diego’s purview because the plans for it were filed prior to the settlement.
To qualify for an affordable apartment, a one-person household could have an annual income of up to $37,450 and a two-person household could have an annual income of up to $42,800, according to HUD figures for this year.
Rents have yet to be determined for the market-rate apartments, Schertzer said.
Civic San Diego said the project would have 54 studio apartments of 600 to 700 square feet; 210 one-bedroom apartments of 700 to 800 square feet; 149 two-bedroom apartments of 1,100 to 2,000 square feet; and 18 three-bedroom apartments of 1,350 to 1,475 square feet.
Broadway, Union, C Streets
The eight-story podium building would be office space.
The ground floor of the tower would be comprised of retail and commercial space with offices on second through seventh floors, separated from the apartments by an amenity space to be shared by office and residential tenants that would include a gym.
Plans for the top floor include a lounge, outdoor deck with a pool and spa. The project also would have a dog run.
The entire Broadway side of the project would be retail with wide sidewalks lined with a double row of magnolia trees.
The Union Street side would have an urban plaza with retail spaces at the northern and southern ends, an office amenity space, and a centralized main building lobby that runs through the building to Front Street, according to Civic San Diego.
The lobby would serve residential and office tenants.
The C Street side would have retail spaces and some office space.
Carrier Johnson +Culture, the architect on the project, described the look of the buildings as being “sheathed in glass with steel mullions and supported by concrete columns and floors.”
The project would include a four-level underground garage with 461 standard parking spaces, 88 compact car parking spaces, and 34 tandem spaces.
Civic San Diego estimated that the project would provide 742 construction jobs and 576 permanent jobs.