Last December, the city put out a Request for Information (RFI) for new office space. With the current City Hall in serious need of repairs and the Washington Mutual building on Main Street lost to foreclosure, Stockton’s leaders are looking for a new place to call home.
Since the RFI application deadline last month, the city has received multiple responses and is slated to pick a winner in the Spring. Until then, the city is keeping the proposals under wraps and most of the applicants are also playing it close to the vest. However, one group, Cort Companies, did share some info on their proposal for the city.
Cort Companies’ proposal includes nearly 30,000 square feet in Cort Tower. According to President Dan Cort, the space was formerly occupied by the District Attorney’s office, meaning it is essentially move-in ready. Cort claims he would be able to get the new City Hall occupied in a “matter of months.”
Aside from the space in Cort Tower, Cort Companies’ proposal includes an offer to work with the city to rehabilitate the current City Hall in the future– at no charge to the city. The city would have to come up with funding, but Cort indicated that his company could provide their historical renovation expertise to ensure any money the city spent on City Hall is utilized efficiently.
“(The current City Hall) could be restored very nicely, and we are offering to help the city down the road to rehabilitate it,” Cort said.
As Mike Fitzgerald wrote in December, the city would be remissed to allow Stockton’s historic City Hall to fall into further decay. Any offer to assist in the building’s renovation should come as welcome news.
Cort is not positive that his company would profit from their proposal, but he feels quite strongly that City Hall needs to remain downtown. Offering up space that does not generate a profit may seem counter intuitive, but it actually makes sense in this situation; Cort Companies owns and operates numerous buildings in the area, and it is in their best interest that Stockton’s workers remain nearby to patronize businesses and sustain downtown’s vitality. In the past, Cort has said that if City Hall moved into an office park in another area, it would be the “death knell” for downtown. Luckily, the RFI specifically states that the city is looking for “downtown area” office space, so the chances of a new city hall being located in another neighborhood seem remote.