The public opening of the $555.5 million downtown San Diego Central Courthouse is finally happening, after months of delays.
Doors to the 704,000-square-foot building are set to open Monday morning. Family law and probate courtrooms will be ready for public use, but the remaining departments and courtrooms are scheduled to move from the old location after the New Year.
The new 22-story structure at the corner of Union and West C streets, which had been set to open to the public July 17, will replace the San Diego County Courthouse and consolidate Criminal, Family and Probate Court facilities that were previously situated in different locations.
During the transition period, courts are expected to operate as usual.
The July 17 opening was delayed because 1,100 smoke dampers in the stucture had to be re-tested and re-programmed.
The old San Diego County Courthouse and old jail buildings will have new uses. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 12 to accept bids from two developers that made proposals to convert the buildings into residential, commercial or industrial use.
The bids were submitted by Holland Partner Group and Courthouse Commons LLC. Their plans will be vetted by staff, with a winning proposal to go back to the supervisors for consideration at a later time.
The old courthouse will be empty once judicial operations are completely moved to the new location.
The supervisors also voted Dec. 12 to approve an amended agreement to transfer the old courthouse and old jail from the state back to the county. The county transferred ownership of those two buildings to the state in 2009, mirroring actions in other counties.
The transfer back to the county will relieve the state of its obligation to demolish the old courthouse and to construct an inmate tunnel from the County Jail to the new San Diego Central Courthouse. The tunnel construction will be part of the private redevelopment plans, according to a county memo.
–Staff, wire reports
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