Del Mar Council OKs design schedule for city hall; project could be finished by 2017

Del Mar City Hall
(Kristina Houck)

If all goes according to schedule, Del Mar could have its new city hall complex in a little more than two years.

With the master-planning phase nearing completion, the Del Mar City Council on Feb. 2 approved a design and construction schedule.

Through Feb. 13, registered voters in Del Mar have an opportunity to voice their choice in an online poll, ranking three options for the facilities that will replace the city hall at 1050 Camino del Mar. The results will be presented March 2 to council members, who will use the input to determine how to develop the site.

According to the schedule, the design phase is scheduled to begin in April, when an architectural team will also be selected. A required California Environmental Quality Act review is scheduled to take place from April 2015 through January 2016. The financing process has already begun and will run through January 2016.

Beginning in June, plans will be drawn to establish City Hall in a temporary facility during construction. Relocation is slated for the end of November.

The process to select a contractor will take place in April 2016. Once selected, demolition is expected to start in December, with construction scheduled to begin in May 2016.

The city also plans to continue to engage the community, holding a workshop May 14 to discuss design concepts and another workshop Sept. 28 to discuss design development. In addition, a community participation program meeting is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12.

An initial review by the Design Review Board is scheduled for Aug. 26. The board hearing is slated for Jan. 27, 2016, after EIR certification.

If all goes as planned, the estimated move-in date is April 28, 2017.

Although council members unanimously approved the plans, they expressed concerns with the project timeline.

“I don’t see (Planning Director) Kathy (Garcia) doing this. It’s too much. I don’t see (City Manager) Scott (Huth) doing this. It’s too much,” said Councilman Terry Sinnott. “I’m starting to worry about how to implement this.”

Huth said the city would eventually have to hire a project manager.

“It’s going to be a project that we’re going to need external resources on to be able to manage, yet it’s still going to require management from our full-time employees,” he said.

“I’m OK with the end date, I just want us to be comfortable that we are going to work to meet that schedule,” said Mayor Al Corti. “It really does take work. We just can’t come back every two or three months and say, ‘Here’s the new schedule.’”

“Projects of this magnitude, more often than not, don’t finish on schedule,” said Councilman Dwight Worden, adding that he wouldn’t be “all that shocked if that slips.”

Noting that she has managed many public projects, Garcia said the schedule is “aggressive but doable.

“I believe we could do it, but it requires effort on everyone’s part,” she said.


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