Republican Congressman Jeff Denham, who hails from the Central Valley, would like to sell a vacant site at First and Broadway in Downtown LA. The property has long been intended for a new federal courthouse, since "Federal judges in the Los Angeles area consider the need for [a new] courthouse well-established and pressing," according to the LA Times. The new courthouse would replace the Depression-era one on Spring St., which "court officials say has 'among the worst security risks in the nation.'" But Denham thinks the intended site can net the government about $25 million and that the judges can all just move into the Roybal Federal Building (which is already used as a co-courthouse; opponents say it would be too crowded to fit all of the area's needs).
The new courthouse has already been scaled back (at one point its estimated cost topped $1 billion)--the plan is for a 650,000 square foot building with 24 courtrooms and 32 judges' chambers (current cost is $400 million). Congress has already signed off on funding for the project.
Denham's bill covers several federal buildings he says could be sold or consolidated, but he "called a Capitol Hill hearing for Friday to use the L.A. project as a poster child." His bill has already made it through a committee.
· Federal courthouse plan in L.A. meets opposition [LAT]