Del Mar city hall architects inviting public to meet-and-greet May 4

Del Mar City Hall
(Kristina Houck)

Despite changes to the design and construction schedule, Del Mar is still on track to open a new city hall complex in about two years.

With an architect finally attached to the project and several community events lined up, the Del Mar City Council on April 20 revised the design and construction schedule that was originally approved on Feb. 2.

In the coming months, newly hired architectural firm The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP, is working closely with the community on the initial concept and schematic phase of the project.

The firm is holding a public meet and greet from 5-7 p.m. May 4 in front of Del Mar TV Studios. The public forum will give the community a chance to get to know the design team, ask questions and make comments. The council meeting will follow the event at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re going to be here to talk about some of their past work, but really, to listen to the community and get people’s ideas,” said Kathleen Garcia, the city’s planning and community development director. “A lot of times people have expressed ideas that were further along in the process — well, now we’re there. We want them to hear directly from our community about what people have been thinking in terms of the town hall, the plaza and the city administration offices.”

An open house is scheduled for 5-6 p.m. June 1 in front of Del Mar TV Studios, where The Miller Hull Partnership will present initial design ideas and concept plan options. Community input will be welcome at the event, which takes place shortly before the 6 p.m. council meeting.

Finally, The Miller Hull Partnership will present its preferred concept at the June 15 council meeting.

“Over the next two months, we have a lot of activity happening and we’re moving forward with some very exciting opportunities,” Garcia said.

City staff also coordinated with consulting firm RECON Environmental Inc. to set a schedule for the Environmental Impact Report process.

A draft EIR will be available for public review on Sept. 7, which is weeks earlier than city staff originally estimated. A Design Review Board hearing is set for Nov. 18. The council will hold an EIR certification hearing a few weeks later on Dec. 7.

If all goes according to schedule, demolition would start in January 2016, construction would begin in May 2016, and move-in day would be April 28, 2017.

“I like the schedule; it’s pretty aggressive,” said Councilman Dwight Worden before the unanimous vote. “If it needs to slip to do it right, that’s OK with me. I’d rather do it right than feel we have to adhere to a schedule that turns out to be too tight.”

City staff will return to the council with a more detailed schedule as the project moves along.