Very big news for the long-languishing dirt lot at First and Broadway: today the US General Services Administration finally announced the winner of its competition to build a federal courthouse at the site. It's Skidmore, Owings & Merrill! (*Their San Francisco and Los Angeles offices will work together on the design.) SOM beat out Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates, Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects, and NBBJ Architects. Officials have been trying to build a new courthouse on the site (former home of the Junipero Serra State Office Building) for years--old plans called for a larger building designed by architects Perkins + Will--and earlier this year, despite furious opposition from a Central Valley congressman, the GSA scaled down the specs and decided to move ahead. They now intend to build a 550,000 square foot "sustainable, cost-effective, state-of-the-art court facility" with 24 courtrooms, 32 judges' chambers, and 110 parking spots, according to the Downtown News. Design work will start right away and construction could begin in the third quarter of 2013. The building should be finished in 2016.
Meanwhile, the GSA also put out a call today for developers interested in the old courthouse site on Spring Street. They're hoping that a private firm will buy and redevelop that building and build a new office building next door to the new federal courthouse at First and Broadway (a little complicated, yes!). They're seeking "creative development ideas."