Glendale could spend $ 70 million to renovate its 1980s town hall complex
Glendale executives could spend $ 70 million to renovate the town hall complex, including a downtown park, after the city saw revenue growth.
The main city hall building was constructed in 1984, costing taxpayers $ 16 million and has not seen major updates since.
The building was designed at a time when technologies, such as the internet and smartphones, were almost non-existent, so the building was not configured for today’s needs, said the director of field operations at the city, Michelle Woytenko.
The ‘brutalism’ architectural style that was popular in the 1980s, characterized by monolithic and block buildings with few windows, sought to reflect strength and sturdiness.
“We are not a big, strong, solid structure,” Woytenko said. “We are open and we are transparent, I think that’s the image we want to convey.”
City leaders are looking to renovate the entire complex, including the parking structure, council chamber, amphitheater and Murphy Park.
City council members agreed to continue discussing the renovation and its costs in a workshop on Tuesday.
If the board finally put it to a vote, the planning and procurement phase would take 15 months and construction would take 16 months.
Where would the money come from?
Leaders could use about $ 20.1 million from funds currently allocated in the city budget for capital improvements.
That still leaves about $ 49.1 million needed to complete the project.
City workers are expected to present a fundraising plan to council on Tuesday. They said they were confident Glendale had enough resources to fund the project without hurting other priorities.
“We believe that we can breathe new life into this facility for decades to come, we can do it at a price that represents very good management of our taxpayer’s income,” said City Manager Kevin Phelps.
The proposal comes after Glendale reported an almost 40% increase in general fund income in 10 years, from $ 174 million in fiscal 2010 to $ 241 million in 2020.
The town hall complex redesigned
Glendale officials said they hope the project will make the resort the heart of the community and that the building facades, which are dated, reflect the character of the city.
The plan is to have a one-stop-shop approach to serving the community, where residents could get the services they need in one place, as well as a state-of-the-art workplace capable of attract and retain quality workers.
Officials added that they would also like to make the amphitheater a destination that attracts public and private events.
Eddie Garcia, the city’s principal architect, said he sees an opportunity to integrate every element of the complex to improve the way people move and navigate on campus.
For the town hall building, Garcia said the plan is to update the entire facade, renovate the interior of the six floors, upgrade accessibility and safety, expand the toilets and to replace the roof.
The council chamber would also benefit from a new facade and roof replacement.
As for the parking garage, the City hopes to better identify the access points, modernize the exterior and replace the fire protection and alarm system.
Murphy Park, the historic park next to City Hall, would be completely reconfigured with new walking paths, scenery and amenities. Lighting, irrigation and other infrastructure would also be improved.
The amphitheater would have a new shade structure, a space at the back of the house to accommodate artists and new toilets.
Garcia proposed changing the seating to accommodate more fixed seating than garden seating, and installing a fence around the amphitheater to make it easier to organize paid events.
Council members Lauren Tolmachoff and Bart Turner opposed the idea of investing in fixed seats and closing the amphitheater with a permanent fence. They also expressed concerns about the price to be paid for the amphitheater renovations.
Turner asked what type of events the city hoped to bring to the amphitheater.
“If that was out there today, who do we think would be playing there tonight or throughout the month? Are we considering, what I would call, the casino circuit type of entertainment?” he wondered. “If so, let’s get professional advice on whether this would actually be viable, or are we over-building this with an unrealistic expectation?”
Other council members saw the need to invest in the amphitheater but recommended changes, particularly with regard to the amount of concrete in the plaster and the appearance of the proposed fence.
Council member Joyce Clark said the update could help revitalize downtown.
“This is our opportunity to help revitalize downtown. It could encourage further development downtown, you never know, ”said Clark. “But until there is a destination location downtown, this downtown is destined to stay exactly as it is now, which is a bummer for anyone who lives in Glendale.”
Other renovations of the town hall of the Valley
Many other towns in the Valley have invested in modernizing their town halls.
In the west, Goodyear executives voted in 2019 to spend $ 83 million to build a new civic plaza project that included plans for a new town hall and a library. El Mirage spent $ 7.6 million on a new building that opened in 2017.
In the east, Gilbert closed his town hall last year for a $ 17.85 million renovation slated for completion in the summer. Scottsdale is spending $ 27.5 million to renovate its Civic Center shopping mall to attract major events.
Tempe executives approved a 10-year plan in 2019 that could cost more than $ 10 million in total to modernize its unique upside-down pyramid-shaped city hall.
Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 480-267-4703. Follow her on Twitter @renataclo.
Thank you for subscribing. This premium content is made possible by your continued support of local journalism.