Demolition of vacant county building a first step in Santa Ana Civic Center revamp

SANTA ANA – An excavator demolished one wall of vacant 1950s-era Building 16 on Monday morning, the first step in a 20-year plan to overhaul the Santa Ana Civic Center and revamp the county seat.

The dilapidated, asbestos-laden structure at 601 N. Ross St. has been unoccupied for years while county departments rented office space in nearby buildings, at a higher cost.

Its demolition marks the start of the first $166 million phase of the county’s Civic Center Facilities Master Plan, approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in February 2015.

Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Andrew Do, who attended the groundbreaking, called it “the beginning of a new day at the county.”

“We are operating with a new way of thinking,” Do said. “We are reevaluating how we use County facilities, to make sure we are using our facilities and our taxpayers’ dollar efficiently and effectively.”

Building 16 is set to be replaced with a six-story, 251,000-square-foot facility that will consolidate offices for OC Public Works, OC Waste & Recycling and Treasurer-Tax Collector. It is scheduled for occupancy in 2020.

The new building will feature a One Stop Public Counter with 13 county agencies, as well as a 200-seat event and conference center, said county spokeswoman Carrie Braun.

Building 16, originally named “Welfare Building” and now 62 years old, was left vacant in the mid-1980s and was used for storage from 1987 to 2002. The three-story concrete-reinforced building was the first Civic Center structure to be completed in 1955, at a cost of about $785,000.

With Building 14 occupied by the Public Defender, Building 16 was a twin gateway building at the west entrance of the county-owned block of the Civic Center.

The project to raze…

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