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Council hears courthouse proposals
Date published: 3/17/2011
However, unusual for the proposals, it also includes a vegetative roof on one of the buildings. That's part of "go green" initiatives and would help maintain green space in the area, the group said, although it isn't envisioned as a public area.
The W.M. Jordan group's plan also included money to upgrade the Executive Plaza building.
The W.M Jordan proposal would cost $32.6 million and take about 31 months.
Also presenting last night were Donley's and their partners.
They proposed three sites --the fire station site, the Executive Plaza site and a new one on Sophia Street.
The Sophia Street location, by Wolfe Street, would require buying existing property there, something Donley's said they've already secured options to do. That building would have river views.
Donley's also said it has several developers interested in renovating the Executive Plaza into a mixed-use building of retail and condos.
On Tuesday night, the council heard from Hensel Phelps Construction and its partner companies; FirstChoice Public-Private partners; and Clancy and Theys Construction and their partners.
The Hensel Phelps proposal would put the courthouse where Executive Plaza is now. It would include all three court systems, with five courtrooms and space for three more in the future, if necessary.
Their architecture sought to mimic the frontage of buildings on Caroline Street, breaking up the facade instead of having one large wall facing the street.
FirstChoice offered proposals at two locations, one where the fire station is now and one on Princess Anne Street where the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is now. The Princess Anne option would have the courts located in two different buildings, connected by a tunnel. The fire station location requires building a new fire station, and FirstChoice has an option on a location near The Free Lance-Star on Amelia Street.
The FirstChoice architecture seeks to imitate iconic courthouses of the past by utilizing cupolas, brickwork and columns.
The Clancy and Theys proposal focused on the fire station location, moving the fire station to the old regional jail site. Their building had large glass walls to bring in more natural light.
Council members asked all five groups if they agree with a 2007 report done by Moseley Architects that showed caseloads will continue to grow rapidly, necessitating new courtroom space.
Most said yes, although Donley's did their own study, which found that the growth is progressing faster than the Moseley report predicted.
All of the proposals contain at least five courtrooms, and several contain options to build new courtrooms as needed.
The five proposals are expected to be on the city's website next week. The city will take comment at a public hearing, which hasn't yet been scheduled, and also via e-mail at email@example.com .
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028
Proposed new courthouse location: Executive Plaza (tear down existing building, build a new one)
Cost: $40 million
Timeframe: 25 months
Proposed locations (two): Princess Anne Street next to City Hall, or current fire station location. The Princess Anne location would see renovation of existing General District court building to house Juvenile and Domestic Relations, while General District and Circuit courts move into a new building.
Cost: $36 million
Time: 30 months
The fire station location would also move General District and Circuit courts into a new building, but it would take longer because a new fire station would first have to be built. FirstChoice proposes to build a new fire station on Amelia St.
Cost: $41 million
Time: 36 monthsCLANCY AND THEYS
Proposed location: current fire station, moving fire station to old regional jail site.
Cost: About $31 million, not including firehouse construction, estimated at about $5 to $6 million
Time: 33 monthsW. M. JORDAN
Proposed location: Princess Anne Street, two buildings
Cost: $32.6 million, including money for temporary relocation of courts
Time: 31 monthsDONLEY'S
Proposed locations: Fire station, Executive Plaza or Sophia Street
Time: 36 months for Sophia Street
Cost: About $34 million