Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 21, 2009


Page 1


AOC Says It Is Reviewing Three Long Beach Court Building Proposals


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Administrative Office of the Courts is reviewing proposals from three private consortia to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the new Long Beach Court Building and expects to make its selection by mid-March, a spokesperson said.

A selection committee will spend the next several weeks evaluating and clarifying the financial and commercial aspects of the proposals, and then these aspects will be scored and ranked, the spokesperson explained. The preferred proposal will then be presented to the state Department of Finance to ensure that its financing terms minimize risk to the state’s credit rating.

Both tax-exempt bond financing and bank-funded financing alternatives are represented among the proposals.

Completion in 2012

Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2012, when the AOC will begin making payments on a service contract conditioned on the building’s successful operation and maintenance, the spokesperson said. The state will own the land and the building throughout the 35-year term of the agreement.

 “The performance-based infrastructure arrangement leverages the private sector’s access to financing, technological expertise, management efficiency, and entrepreneurial spirit to ensure PBI projects can be constructed more quickly and with less risk to the state, and they can be operated more cost-effectively than through a conventional public development process,” the spokesperson claimed.

Although the Long Beach project is the first courthouse construction project undertaken with such an arrangement in the United States, the spokesperson noted that court building projects have been completed in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

 Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy, who has objected to other courthouse construction projects financed through bond-revenue generated by SB 1407, voiced support for the performance-based infrastructure arrangement being used for the Long Beach courthouse.

‘Private-Public Partnership’

“The private-public partnership being used to finance this courthouse is a great example of how to pursue infrastructure improvements in recessionary times,” he opined.

 Clifford Ham, principal architect for the AOC’s Office of Court Construction and Management and lead on the project, commented:

“It’s remarkable what competition in the marketplace will bring to you if you seek it out and reward it.”

The AOC spokesperson said the agency, Los Angeles Superior Court and Long Beach Redevelopment Agency have been working closely with each proposal team to promote the submission of design solutions that would meet the Judicial Council’s stated requirements for functionality, design quality, flexibility and operational efficiency.

Competing Proposals

The competing design proposals vary from 525,000 to 545,000 square feet and from a height of five to seven stories, the AOC spokesperson said. All of the proposals would provide the court with more than double the square footage of the current Long Beach courthouse.

Built in 1959, the current Long Beach courthouse facility “is among those in California with the greatest need for replacement,” the AOC spokesperson said, suffering from “fundamental flaws,” overcrowding, dilapidation and a failure to meet accessibility requirements.

The new building will be constructed on six acres northwest of the existing courthouse, bounded by West Broadway, Maine Avenue, West 3rd Street and Magnolia Avenue.

31 Courtrooms

It will house 31 courtrooms, with the court occupying roughly three-fourths of the overall space. The additional space will be used for offices of related justice agencies, and for commercial office and retail space compatible with court uses. The project also includes renovation of the adjacent existing parking structure, expanding its capacity to more than 900 spaces.

The first of the three competing consortia has Meridiam Infrastructure as the team lead, with AECOM as the project architect, Clark Construction as the contractor, KPMG handling financing and Johnson Controls performing facilities management.

Lankford & Associates heads the second group, comprised of the HOK architectural firm, Hensel Phelps Construction, investment banker Piper Jaffray and Grubb & Ellis/ABM.

Architects Perkins+Will, contractor Heery/Barnhart, Barclays Bank and Linc Facilities join team lead Balfour Beatty Capital to form the third competing group.


Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company