Following a comprehensive redesign in search of a unique and iconic look, South San Francisco officials approved and lauded plans for the new civic center campus.
The South San Francisco City Council unanimously approved, during a meeting Thursday, June 13, proposed plans for the new police station, library, parks and recreation center and community facility.
The project was recently redrawn to meet expectations from officials seeking a more compelling design. It received rave reviews from councilmembers, according to video of the meeting.
“It certainly has been a slog for some of us but I find myself very pleased with where we are landing and I’m very hopeful that this will stand the test of time and really speak to what South San Francisco was all about during these glory days,” said Councilman Mark Addiego.
Councilman Mark Nagales also expressed his appreciation for the campus design, which will also abut a new park at the intersection of Chestnut Avenue and Antoinette Lane.
“This building does stand out and I think the park also stands out because you want to attract people to use this facility,” he said.
Approval for the project sets the stage for the project to advance beyond the conceptual stage. Assuming the timeline stays on track, the police station would go out to bid in the fall and the rest of the campus would follow next summer. Officials are hopeful ground will break on the police station in January and work on the rest of the project will start about nine months later.
The project is roughly the same size as the previously planned facility, and officials are hopeful it falls within the $210 million budget, though ultimately construction bids expected next summer will determine the final price tag. The proposal is already projected to cost about $60 million more than was originally expected. Financing for the project is available primarily through a recent sales tax hike approved by voters.
While the size and budget of the project are generally in step with previous plans, the new design marks a significant departure from the earlier drawings.
The most recent renderings display a facility encased in fritted glass featuring transparency control which can be adjusted to serve the different uses throughout the building. Meanwhile, the exterior of the building will be comprised of a steel wrap intended to celebrate South San Francisco’s tradition as the industrial city, officials have said.
Project designer SmithGroup said officials received a significant amount of feedback from residents who maintained a variety of reservations regarding details of the project.
For his part, Addiego said he was less concerned about the frustrations raised by residents so long as the building established a strong presence.
“I’m not concerned if the average citizen who drives by likes it or doesn’t like it — but you can’t not notice it, and that’s the beginning of something that stands the test of time,” he said.
But feedback from councilmembers was not positive across the board, as Nagales feared the 220 parking spaces proposed would be insufficient. Assistant City Manager Marian Lee though said the amount of parking is limited due to the confinements of the property.
Nagales also suggested there may not be enough parking spaces close to the facility accommodating those with limited mobility, specifically in the underground lot. Officials previously have said the amount of underground spaces needed to be limited due to high construction costs.
Yet despite the variety of concerns, ultimately officials determined the designs were suitable and looked forward to the facility’s advancement.
“It’s going to be a keystone building,” said Vice Mayor Rich Garbarino. “A landmark building.”
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