The California state budget frees up $1.6 billion to build new structures in downtown Sacramento, including a long-awaited project that will replace a warren of offices attached to the Capitol and temporarily move legislative staff to a yet-to-be-constructed office building on O Street.
Replacing the 66-year-old Capitol Annex is the most expensive of the three projects funded by the $200 billion 2018-19 state budget lawmakers are expected to send to Gov. Jerry Brown today. The state is setting aside up to $755 million to tear down the six-story structure and replace it with a more modern space.
The other new projects are a $460 million courthouse to replace the outdated Sacramento Superior Court and $420 million to build the O Street building that would temporarily house the legislative offices and later be used by other government offices.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, was a key advocate for the annex project. The existing structure sits on an underground parking lot, which is considered a security risk.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The annex also has crowded hallways and limited access for people with disabilities. Cooley released a study in February on how the state could replace the structure, aiming to create a more inviting setting for thousands of tourists and students who visit the Capitol every year.
The annex is attached to the state’s historic Capitol building. The replacement also will be attached to the original Capitol.
“This is just taking the vision of the original building as a people's house, a welcoming setting,” Cooley said.
Cooley said the state does not have a timeline to begin construction of the annex. The Legislature and the Department of General Services have a plan to move quickly by simultaneously designing both the annex and the O Street building, DGS spokeswoman Monica Hassan said.
If the proposal moves forward as planned, O Street will have a very different look. The annex plan calls for a new state building on O Street between 10th and 11th streets.
That's separate from another new state building under development at 1215 O St. The building at 12th and O is projected to cost $274 million and house 1,150 state workers. It was funded in the 2017 state budget.
Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning rundown on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.
INFLUENCER INSIGHT: "The collapse of candidates like Antonio Villaraigosa also shows that all the money in the world still can’t guarantee success at the polls," Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council, on takeaways from the primary election. You can weigh in, too.