The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved construction of a $17-million Municipal Courts building on the county's Rancho Los Amigos property on the west side of Downey.
At the same time, the supervisors named an Orange County firm to develop a plan for a private office complex beside the new court building.
The four-story, 101,000-square-foot courthouse will be built on 7.8 acres of vacant land next to the county library on Imperial Highway. It will serve the Downey Municipal Court District, which includes Downey, Norwalk and La Mirada.
Lacks Adequate Space
The courthouse will replace the existing Downey Municipal Courts building on 3rd Street, which lacks adequate space to house all the facilities associated with the court. The old courthouse was built in 1951 and later expanded.
Currently, the district attorney's office, the public defender's office, the civil and small claims office and the jurors assembly room are housed in rented space in nearby buildings. The jurors assembly room, for example, is at the United Methodist Church about three blocks from the courthouse.
"The jurors have to be called and they have to walk over here," said court clerk Elaine Osborne. "It's very inconvenient for them."
All those offices will be consolidated in the new courthouse, which will include seven courtrooms and two hearing rooms, said Tom Hageman, assistant chief deputy for Supervisor Peter F. Schabarum.
Business Park OKd
The courthouse is expected to open in about two years, said Hageman, who added he didn't know what would be done with the old courthouse. The supervisors approved the project on Dec. 16.
The supervisors also gave approval to the Irvine-based Lusk Co. to develop a final plan to build a business park on about nine acres of vacant county property beside the site of the new courthouse, on Rives Avenue and Imperial Highway.
As proposed, the Rancho Business Park would include a 50,000-square-foot office building, a restaurant, light manufacturing and warehouse facilities, and a new road to service the complex.
The county would lease the land for the development, which could generate as much as $200 million in revenue over the term of the 66-year lease, Hageman said. The Lusk Co. has until Feb. 28 to present the final plan to the county.
Council Approval Required
Lusk must then secure approval from the Downey City Council, which already has approved county plans to develop the parcel as a business park, Hageman said.
The cost of the project is estimated at $10.5 million, and the road is expected to cost about $2 million. The county will bear part of the expense of building the new road.
The proposed Rancho Business Park is part of the county's Asset Management Program to generate continuing revenue by leasing property for private development, rather than selling vacant land for a one-time gain. The Board of Supervisors initiated the program in 1984.
Eastman Inc. of Long Beach is putting the finishing touches on an office, distribution and warehousing complex on land once occupied by the old Long Beach General Hospital, the first parcel the county leased under the program.