City leaders are renovating or replacing city halls throughout the U.S.
Federal funding programs are currently supporting initiatives to replace, renovate or prepare public assets for reuse. Courthouses and city halls appear to be receiving an abundance of attention. It is uncommon to see a jurisdictional trend as strong as this type of municipal construction seems to be. However, the trend is likely being driven by the availability of funding, but it could also result from critical infrastructure that is no longer effective and too costly to maintain.
The city of Alexandria, Virginia, has set aside approximately $210 million in capital funds to renovate its outdated city hall. The building was initially constructed in 1871, and it is in dire need of major updates and modernization. It currently serves 300 city employees. The project will also include replacing the Market Square Parking Garage and redesigning the Market Square, both located directly next to the City Hall building. Bids for engineering and design services for the project are being collected, and a firm will be selected to begin the design work in 2024. Construction for the project will likely be delayed until 2025.
Officials at the city of Franklin, Tennessee, will soon launch an initiative for a new city hall facility. The project carries an estimated total value of $100 million. Construction is currently in the design phase and is scheduled for 2025. The new building will offer many amenities, including greater access to windows, various working and meeting room spaces, a welcome center, indoor community meeting spaces and outdoor historic markers and memorials. The increased parking availability will allow spaces for approximately 500 vehicles. Project designers plan for the structure to be 115,700 square feet, potentially adding 10,000 square feet.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will allocate $334.97 million to support the construction of a federal courthouse in Hartford, Connecticut. It will replace the Abraham A. Ribicoff Building. Specific plans call for the new facility to include 11 courtrooms, 18 Judge’s chambers, additional offices for federal agency tenants and 66 secure parking spaces. The new building will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification standards. The project’s design phase is tentatively set for 2024, with construction to follow.
Officials at the city of Clearwater, Florida, will oversee the construction of a new city hall and renovate the existing city administration facility. The project calls for constructing a two-story, 41,000-square-foot city hall building that will be constructed in conjunction with renovating the existing 66,000-square-foot municipal services building. Design work is currently underway and expected to be completed in 2024. Construction would begin in late 2024, with a completion date of 2026. The city hall projects will include a public plaza green space that connects to the Pinellas Trail. The city of Clearwater has been without an adequate city hall for almost five years, so officials are eager to get the work started.
Manitowoc County in Wisconsin will soon have a renovated County Courthouse. The $30 million project will include three components. First, the courthouse dome must be repaired and restored to prevent water leakage. Then, the windows around the dome, which are 45 years old, must be replaced. Finally, the building dates to 1906 and will require a new ventilation and temperature control system. The project is currently in the design phase, with bids on architecture and design services due this month. Officials plan to solicit bids on the three parts of the project separately, with solicitations scheduled to be released soon. County officials hope to see the project completed within three years.
In Grand Island, Nebraska, the Hall County Board of Commissioners will oversee a project to expand the county courthouse. The expansion will add 65,750 square feet to the existing facility and the new space will include three district courtrooms. Work will consist of demolishing the neighboring old county jail as well as the social services building. The expansion will also allow for new hearing rooms, child custody proceedings, and mental health services, all incorporating ADA accessibility and distinct audio-visual technology. The project is expected to cost somewhere between $25 million and $40 million. A construction launch is planned for late 2024.
In June, the New Hampshire state legislature approved $17.5 million in funding to construct a new district court facility in Rochester. The new facility will provide more than twice the space of the current building, originally built in 1913 as a post office. Additional space has become a critical need, and the old facility also has inadequate accessibility as well as public parking. The court has been housed in the building since 1992. Design work for the project is currently underway and is expected to conclude by April 2024. Solicitations for construction services will be released immediately after that, and officials hope to break ground in late 2024.
Along with city hall construction in municipalities, counties are also upgrading or replacing county courthouses and county office complexes. Interested private sector potential partners should check all local planning documents for regions of interest in 2024.