Updated 12:39 pm: Hard breaks today for ducks and Central Valley Congressman alike, as the US General Services Administration has announced that it plans to start work on LA's long-awaited new federal courthouse at First and Broadway. The weedy, dusty, occasionally floody lot (which ducks like) has been empty since 2007, when the earthquake-damaged Junipero Serra State Office Building was demolished. Officials have been wanting to build a new courthouse there for more than a decade; they say the old building on Spring Street is a security risk and is riddled with asbestos. San Joaquin Valley Congressman Jeff Denham opposes the plan and tried to put the site up for sale last year. Now he says that he "fully intends to hold an oversight hearing where GSA will be invited to testify and where he will demand accountability on this issue," according to an aide quoted in the LA Times. Update: Perkins + Will had originally been selected to design the courthouse (one rendering here), but the specs have changed and they are no longer on the project. The GSA is starting from scratch looking today for a design/build team, so we'll have to wait and see what this large building on a very visible Downtown site will look like.
The GSA says it will build the courthouse with money already appropriated, since it probably can't get the House to award any more funding for the project. Current plans call for 24 courtrooms and 32 judges' chambers in 600,000 square feet. Construction is expected start at the end of this year, with move-in planned for "no later than March 2016." There are no firm plans yet for the old building on Spring Street.
· Construction plans for downtown L.A. federal courthouse announced [LAT]
· Central Valley Congressman Doesn't Think LA Needs a New Federal Courthouse [Curbed LA]