Columbia Heights City Hall has reached the end of its useful life. That’s the conclusion reached in a facility condition report presented to the City Council in January. Necessary renovations to keep the existing building functional would cost at least $6.6 million, according to an analysis by the Leo A Daly architecture firm.
“It is safe to say the cost of renovating this building will exceed the cost of building a new City Hall,” said Kevin Hansen, public works director.
On top of that, he added, renovations wouldn’t correct the primary concerns of exterior wall deficiencies, space inefficiency, and irresolvable accessibility problems. The original building was built in 1942, and has had three major renovations and several add-ons since then. After the Police Department moved to a new building in 2010, half of City Hall’s space has gone unused. But those empty spaces still cost money to heat, cool, and keep up-to-code.
Other major concerns include:
• presence of asbestos in building • water infiltration in multiple areas and water damage prolific throughout • inadequate power capacity and wire integrity • incomplete removal of antiquated systems • lack of fire barriers in ceilings and inadequacy of fire escapes • inadequate ADA accessibility throughout building • exterior wall failure • roof fire hazards and inadequacy • inefficient or dysfunctional heating and cooling systems • hazardous stairways and level changes • old elevator in frequent need of repair.
City Hall Options Under Review
City Council and staff are considering options and possible locations for a new City Hall that would be less than half the size of the current City Hall. Keep an eye on this page for updates on City Hall public feedback events considering options and possible locations for a new City Hall.
Read the full City Hall condition report, with photos, here.
Read the full City Hall master plan report here.