A new building would allow emergency and police services to operate continuously during and after a major earthquake. It would house the police department, 911 Emergency Dispatch Center, the Emergency Operations Center, the Office of Emergency Services and the Fire Department's administration.
As part of the plan for a new headquarters, the police and emergency-services departments would move from City Hall; in their new location, they would be near the North County Courthouse in the California Avenue area, according to a draft presentation for the Nov. 18 meeting by contractors RossDrulisCusenbery Architecture Inc. and Watry Design Inc.
Cost estimates, as adopted by the City Council in June 2014, are $47 million for a 44,500-square-foot building, $10 million for property acquisition and $9.6 million to build a parking garage in the same area.
The council identified three potential locations for a new building and parking structure during a May study session. Existing parking lots C-6 and C-7, at 250 Sherman, were the council's preferred sites.
The public safety building would be bounded by Sherman Avenue, Birch Street and Park Boulevard; the parking structure would be located between Birch and Ash streets on Sherman, according to the draft plans. The structures would replace the existing parking lot while adding about 150 additional public spaces.
Design options under consideration include: a three-story, 50-foot-tall (maximum) building and basement with two levels of underground parking as well as 22 street-level parking spots; or a two-story, 35-foot-tall structure above two basement levels with below- and above-grade parking.
The three-story public safety building would have a more compact footprint than the other option, would extend about half the block between Birch and Park and would be visible above the existing Keeble and Shuchat building on the south side of California Avenue, according to architectural renderings. This design would include a public plaza.
The two-story design would have a larger footprint extending horizontally almost the entire block to Park. It would lack a public plaza and would include fewer street-level parking spots. The building would not be visible from most locations along California Avenue.
The public parking structure could be a structure with no ground-level commercial space or underground levels; or a structure over two floors of underground parking with no ground-level commercial space; or a structure over two floors of underground parking and ground-floor commercial space.
The Option A garage, with 460 spaces, would not be set back from the street and would rise 35 feet with four parking levels. Renderings show the building as a solid mass along Birch Street.
Option B would have the largest setback of the three options. It would rise 35 feet with four levels of above-ground parking and two levels of underground parking. The structure would have 463 parking spots.
Option C would have 460 spaces in three stories, with an additional two basement levels. It would add a 27-foot-tall retail space along Birch. The sight lines for the parking structure would be nearly even with existing buildings along Birch on that side of the street (the same side as Antonio's Nut House), but the retail building would extend into view.
The Nov. 18 meeting will allow officials to hear public input on the site evaluation before City Council review on Dec. 14. The meeting will take place from 7-9 p.m. in the Escondido Elementary School Multipurpose Room, 890 Escondido Road, Stanford. The 52-page draft community presentation can be viewed by going to cityofpaloalto.org and searching for "public safety November 18."
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