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State House Renovation or Replacement

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The legislature is exploring the idea of renovating the State House or constructing a new building to provide more legislative office space.

Montgomery Advertiser: Riley signs bill to study State House space

There's a way to expand the State House, provide more greenspace next to the capitol and provide additional parking for all the office buildings in the area. Here's what I propose:

  1. Expand the current State House with a new wing built on the adjacent parking lot within the same block, building over the small two-story attached building.

  2. The surface lot between the State House and the Folsom building to the north should be converted to a public park per the downtown master plan.

  3. The huge surface parking lot that covers the entire block directly to the east of the state house could become a mammoth five-level parking deck wrapped with retail/restaurant and office space at ground level on all four sides, and with office space above.

Parking fees would help pay for the deck, as would office and retail rentals. The thousands of state employees in the area might then have a coffee shop, dry-cleaner, deli, convenience store and similar retail establishments within walking distance. Legislators, state employees, lobbyists and others might have office space within easy walking distance of the capitol and other state office buildings. The deck would provide plenty of additional parking for state workers, and provide badly needed public parking near the capitol.

I love this proposal because three parking lots go away, no buildings have to be demolished and a new public park would be across the street from the capitol.

What do y'all think about this proposal?

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Photos of the area (taken with a cell phone camera so quality may not be very good):

Parking lot next to the State House (State House expansion)

StateHouseLot.jpg

Small building to rear of the State House (State House expansion)

StateHouseWashSt.jpg

One-block parking lot east of the State House (parking deck wrapped with liner buildings)

LotBehindSH.jpg

LotBehindSH2.jpg

Parking lot north of the State House and east of the capitol (public park)

MiddleLot.jpg

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Looks like legislative leaders are determined to get more space, so a renovation or expansion of the State House, or new construction is likely. However, a plan to move the Alabama attorney general's office out of the State House would free up 90,000 square feet of space. The attorney general's office will probably be relocated to the old Public Safety Building in front of the Capitol by August 2008.

Montgomery Advertiser: Leaders want more space

I still think the proposal above is a good idea. We should build now to anticipate future needs. As an addition to the items listed in the first post, I would also build another wing onto the Folsom building to the north of the State House. The parking lot behind that building wouldn't be necessary if the new deck were built.

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More photos:

Rear (east side) of State House:

StateHouseRear2.jpg

Rear (east side) of Folsom building

FolsomBldgRear.jpg

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The Legislative Building Authority voted to spend up to $100,000 for architects to study remodeling the 1950s State House, last remodeled in 1986. The study will include how the Legislature could use the third and fourth floors of the building, currently occupied by the Attorney General's Office, which is moving to the expanded Public Safety Building in 2008. If remodeling costs are found to be exorbitant, the committee would consider building a new State House.

Montgomery Advertiser: State House will be assessed

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Brown-Chambless Architects Inc. of Montgomery will report to the Legislative Building Authority early next year with options and costs for renovating or rebuilding the State House. Legislators maintain that the office building is crowded and obsolete.

Mobile Press-Register: Legislators weigh State House remake

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Architects reported that renovating the current State House would be more expensive than constructing a new building. According to reports in the Montgomery Advertiser, several plans are under consideration by the legislature. An extension could be added to the east side of the Capitol (requiring the closure of part of Union St.); a new building could be built behind the State House; a new building could be built on lower Dexter Ave at the opposite end from the Capitol, creating a "governmental mall" (the city is working on a proposal for this); or the current building could be renovated again.

The lower Dexter plan is interesting, but I'm worried that it may involve tearing down historic buildings, which is the last thing that needs to happen in that area. If it replaces One Court Square, though, it could be a good thing. I still hope it's built as liner buildings around a parking deck in the huge surface parking lot behind the current State House.

Thoughts?

Plan would move site of State House

Dexter State House plan exciting

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A legislative committee is looking at building a 220,000-square-foot State House and parking deck for about $170 million.

The panel is considering two options:

  • Building a wing on the rear of the Capitol for the legislature and closing one block of Union Street immediately behind the Capitol.

  • Create an extended, National Mall-type environment along Dexter Ave by building a State House six blocks away on Court Square, replacing the One Court Square building.

At last Thursday's meeting, a majority of committee members said they were leaning toward the Court Square plan, but they didn't take a vote.

AP: Panel favors building new Alabama Statehouse

State House on the Move

I'm not a fan of either of these options, but I guess the Court Square option would be the best of the two. I don't know how that would work though, if capitol police were to limit access to Court Square or other streets in the area.

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The city presented a written proposal (to move the State House to lower Dexter Ave) on Thursday to the legislative committee that will decide the future of the State House. David Bronner submitted a plan to add a wing to the rear of the state capitol building.

The last thing we need is for Bronner to get his hands on our state capitol building. Hopefully the city-county effort will be successful and keep our state capitol from becoming an architectural laughingstock.

Bright offers Dexter area for new legislative home

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County and city officials say they have a proposal ready to present to the legislative committee studying the pos

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The Montgomery Independent ran an article about the proposal by the city, county and Chamber of Commerce to build a new statehouse at Court Square. The project isn't likely to move forward any time soon because of the state of the economy, but the chairman of the legislative building committee prefers to add a 5-story building to the east of the Capitol, with a one-story connector across Union Street.

Alabama considers a new State House

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