CCDC Votes to Study New Library at Concourse

Times Staff Writer

The effort to build a new San Diego central library moved another step down the planning path Friday when the city’s redevelopment agency approved a $230,000 study on construction at the Community Concourse, the downtown home of City Hall.

The decision by the board of directors of Centre City Development Corp., the city’s nonprofit redevelopment agency, puts in motion the Sept. 9 decision by the City Council designating the Community Concourse as the preferred location for a new library.

When completed in about nine months, the study will present various city options, such as financing, design, and the prospect of including major City Hall expansion and private office development rights in the development package.

Final approval of the study’s work plan is expected by the City Council in about two weeks, said Gerald M. Trimble, CCDC vice president.

Preliminary costs of building the proposed 375,000-square-foot library are estimated at $41 million. The price increases to about $54 million for the proposal to demolish the concourse’s Golden Hall, currently used as an auditorium and meeting hall, and build a new 10-story building. Seven floors would house the library, and three would be used for an expansion of City Hall.


The work plan calls for evaluating City Hall’s space requirements through the year 2025. The study will consider moving City Council chambers, offices for the mayor and City Council, committee rooms and the City Clerk’s office into the new facility.

The study, to be done by CCDC under a contract with the city, also will attempt to pinpoint construction costs and determine the feasibility of a joint public-private effort.

By giving private developers the right to build office space in the project, financing could be shared rather than being the city’s burden alone, said Kathy Kalland, CCDC spokeswoman.

Because there is more than one part to the work plan, it is expected that several consultants, each responsible for a specific element, will be hired, Kalland said.

As San Diego has grown, the existing central library has become too small and inadequate to serve current and future needs, according to city officials.

The library, on E Street between 8th and 9th avenues, is about 140,000 square feet in size. Its staff and collection are the largest available to the public south of Los Angeles, and it serves as the basic source of information for all public libraries in San Diego and Imperial counties.

In December, 1982, and June, 1983, the Board of Library Commissioners held major public forums on the central library. A consensus emerged for construction of a central library rather than an expansion of the E Street location. In addition, it was decided the new site should be somewhere in downtown San Diego.

The City Council then evaluated several locations before finally naming the Community Concourse as the top choice.