Images of planned downtown L.A. courthouse unveiled


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After more than a decade of delay, federal officials Monday awarded a $318-million construction contract for a new courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Officials also released images of the design.

The U.S. General Services Administration called the selection of architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Clark Construction Group a “major milestone” for the federal judiciary, which has been pushing for more courtroom space downtown since the late 1990s. The 550,000-square-foot building will rise on a large, vacant parcel between Hill Street and Broadway that city officials have long hoped to fill with a new development.


“We are moving toward the groundbreaking of a critically needed facility that will resolve long-standing security and space issues,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles) said in a statement. “At a time when we need to keep investing in our recovering economy, we expect the courthouse to create thousands of new jobs in the construction industry and related businesses.”

Construction is expected to begin next year, with completion in 2016, the GSA said.

The agency also announced Monday that it had released a formal “request for information” to solicit ideas for adaptive reuse of the old federal courthouse on Spring Street. Under the agency’s plan, the 72-year-old building would be sold to a private developer, with the proceeds to help finance construction of a second federal office building adjacent to the new courthouse.

Some real estate experts have questioned whether the exchange proposal would be feasible, saying it could be difficult for a private owner to adapt the old courthouse because of its structural issues, location and historic status. But GSA officials remain upbeat about the plan.

“This step is just another example of GSA’s commitment to providing real value to the American public,” said acting administrator Dan Tangherlini.

-- Sam Allen