Contract Awarded for New L.A. Courthouse

SOM rendering of the new L.A. courthouse (source: GSA)

Downtown Los Angeles is one step closer to getting a new federal courthouse. Earlier this month (Dec. 10), GSA awarded a $318 million design-build contract for the project to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Clark Construction Group. The 550,000-square-foot shimmering white cube—to be built on a 3.6-acre vacant lot at 107 South Broadway that city officials have long wanted to see developed—will feature a bright, serrated facade that will appear to float over its stone base.

The new courthouse, which will contain 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers, will be a sustainable, cost-effective facility that will include security upgrades not available at the existing courthouse. It will be used by active and senior judges of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Marshalls Service; it also will provide trial preparation space for the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and the Federal Public Defender. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2013, with completion anticipated in 2016.

At the same time, GSA is looking for proposals that would enable it to dispose of the historic, 72-year-old courthouse building at 312 Spring Street and use the funds from the building’s sale to finance construction of a second federal building near the new courthouse. The agency issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting creative development ideas for the old courthouse’s potential adaptive reuse on Dec. 10. (GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini had said in a June 22 letter to Congress that he wanted to trade the courthouse for a new 175,000-square-foot facility.)

“GSA is committed to reducing the federal government’s real estate footprint by making more efficient use of our current properties and getting rid of outdated facilities that no longer meet our needs,” said Tangherlini last week. “The agency is taking a new approach to property disposals by working with the private sector to exchange outdated properties for the construction of new sustainable facilities.”  He added that the project also would “consolidate other federal agencies in Los Angeles into one state-of-the-art facility, shrinking the federal real estate footprint and eliminating multiple leases, saving taxpayer dollars.”

Site for the new L.A. courthouse (courtesy of Bing Maps)