Public Safety Building Project

  • Project typeBuildings & Facilities
  • Project value$117,037,811
  • Completion DateJuly 29, 2023

Project Description

The existing Public Safety Building (PSB) at 275 Forest Avenue opened in 1970 and is approximately 25,000 square feet. Due to the growth of public safety services and changes in regulations, the existing building no longer meets current seismic, accessibility, or regulatory code requirements that are necessary for the Essential Services Buildings Seismic Safety Act (ESBSSA). The new PSB will house the Police Department, 911 Emergency Dispatch Center, the Emergency Operations Center, the Office of Emergency Services, and the administration needs of the Fire Department. The new PSB is part of the 2014 Council Infrastructure Plan, and will be located at 250 Sherman Avenue, next to the new California Avenue Area Parking Garage. Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), these are considered as a single project because the garage will mitigate the loss of approximately 310 existing public surface parking spaces on both sites.

Scope of Work

  • Three-story building, 50-foot-high maximum, built over an operational basement and below grade parking for staff
  • Public plaza and main entry on Birch Street
  • Multi-purpose training room and meeting space
  • Secured operations yard with large public safety vehicle parking
  • Public parking available at the new California Avenue Area Parking Garage
  • Future solar panels on California Avenue Area Parking Garage designed to support the PSB

Project Status

Upcoming PSB Construction Activities for September:

  • Continued soil testing, soil excavation and off-haul.
  • Completed installation of perimeter shoring system around boundary of construction site.
  • Installed storm drain catch basin and median modifications on Birch Street.
  • Dewatering tanks and equipment delivered and completed dewatering well installation.
  • Began installation of tiebacks on Sherman Avenue, Birch Street, and Jacaranda Lane.

The Palo Alto Public Art Program installed four site-specific murals along the construction fence. Bay Area artists Abi Mustapha, Debra Koppman, Jessica Eastburn, and Olivia Losee-Unger drew their inspiration from the unique character of Palo Alto’s California Avenue District, its diverse community, rich history, and iconic landmarks that make this neighborhood distinct. Visit the Public Art Program website for more information about these artworks and artists, and find other temporary murals on this virtual map.

The following construction activities were performed in August 2021:

  • Begin groundwater drawdown to lower water surface elevation for the excavation.
  • Finish tieback installation to reinforce stability of retaining wall.
  • Continue excavation toward final subgrade.

Project Timeline

  • Stage 1 - 2015 to 2016

    • December 2015: City Council accepted the Public Safety Building (PSB) Site Evaluation Study of California Avenue Parking Lots C-6 and C-7, for Construction of a New PSB and Public Parking Structure.  Council directed staff to proceed with Design and Environmental Review of the three-story PSB Meeting Zoning Requirements on Lot C-6, and to proceed with Design and Environmental Review of a New Public Parking Garage on Lot C-7 (ID #6069).
    • 2016:  Design Team and Project Management Team are finalized.

     

  • Stage 2 - 2017 to 2018

    • 2017: Design of the California Avenue Area Parking Garage begins.
    • 2017: Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) of the PSB and California Avenue Area Parking Garage begins.
    • October 2017: Architectural Review Board Meeting for the PSB and California Avenue Area Parking Garage projects.
    • January 2018: Final Draft Environmental Impact Report is completed.
    • January 2018: Architectural Review Board reviews the California Avenue Area Parking Garage design and moves ahead separately from the PSB design.
    • June 2018: Final EIR – Notice of Determination
    • August 2018: Architectural Review Board Meeting for the PSB
    • September 2018: Architectural Review Board Meeting for the PSB
    • October 2018: Architectural Review Board Subcommittee Meeting for the PSB
    • December 2018: Council approved and authorized a construction contract for the New California Avenue Area Parking Garage.
  • Stage 3 – 2019 to 2020

    • January 2019: California Avenue Area Parking Garage construction begins
    • July 2019: PSB Design approved by the Architectural Review Board with items for subcommittee review
    • July 2019: Architectural Review Board Subcommittee Meeting for the PSB
    • December 2019: Architectural Review Board Subcommittee Meeting for the PSB
    • February 2020: City conducts contractor pre-qualification for the PSB
    • June 2020: City conducts a second contractor pre-qualification for the PSB
    • September 2020: The PSB project goes out to bid to the pre-qualified contractors.
    • December 2020:  Bids received in November were rejected. The PSB project is re-bid to the pre-qualified contractors.
    • The California Avenue Area Parking Garage opens to the public on December 8, 2020.
  • Stage 4 –2021

    • January 2021: The PSB bids were received.
    • February 2021:  City Council awards the construction contract for the PSB to Swinerton Builders.
    • March 2021: The PSB construction begins. 
    • May 2021: Parking Lot C-6 and Sherman Avenue between Park Boulevard and Birch Street are closed to the public. Map of Available Parking in the Area
    • June 2021: The City hosts a groundbreaking reception to celebrate the construction of the PSB. Livestream of the event

Tree Mitigation

The landscape plans for the new California Avenue Parking Garage and Public Safety Building projects include planting new trees around the buildings and new trees off-site at vacant locations. The landscape plans are aligned with Urban Forestry’s requirements to replace tree canopy.

View the FAQs for the removal of trees

Related Documents

Tree Mitigation - California Avenue Parking Garage Project(PDF, 404KB)
Biological Resources(PDF, 468KB)
Tree Survey Report(PDF, 4MB)

Upcoming Meetings

There are no upcoming meetings. Please check back for updates.

Previous Meetings

2021

June 2 - Groundbreaking Reception
The City hosted a groundbreaking reception with the project design team, construction team, Fire and Police departments, and community members on past advising committees.

February 1 – City Council Meeting
Staff recommended the approval of the PSB project to Swinerton Builders.

2020

April 13 – City Council Meeting
Council approved a finding that the PSB project is “substantially complex” under Public Contract Code 7201.

2019

December 5 - Architectural Review Board Subcommittee Meeting
The ARB Subcommittee reviewed the PSB communication tower design, which was a condition for approval of the project in September 2019.

January 18 - Project Walkthrough
City staff hosted a walkthrough of the project site. This was an opportunity for the public to learn more about the project, upcoming tree removals, and the City’s broader commitment to Palo Alto’s urban forest. 

2018

December 20 - Public Art Commission
City Staff recommended approval of public artwork for the PSB to the Public Art Commission (PAC) in December. Artist Peter Wegner presented to the PAC his concepts for a suite of four artworks at the PSB site. The PAC enthusiastically approved the artist’s concepts.

December 6 - Informational Community Meeting on Public Art
The public joined Public Art staff and artist Peter Wegner to learn about the proposed public art concepts. Wegner discussed concepts for the site developed from previous stakeholder and community input. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and leave comments. 

November 5 - City Council Meeting
Staff recommended that Council approve an Architectural Review application for a new PSBand related facilities. The application includes modifications to development standards related to setbacks and height, and adopts  an associated Record of Land Use Action.

September 20 - Architectural Review Board Meeting
The PSBproject was presented to ARB on Thursday, September 20. The meeting focused on landscape, building materials, and proposed signage locations.

September 17 - City Council Study Session on the Public Safety Building (PSB) Design and Project Status
The PSB project status was presented to City Council on Monday, September 17.

September 12 - Community Meeting
The City of Palo Alto hosted a Community Meeting for the new PSB and Parking Garage.

August 2 - Architectural Review Board Meeting
The Public Safety Building project was presented at the August 2 ARB meeting.

June 18 – Public Safety Building Art Input Meeting with Artist Peter Wegner
PSB artist Peter Wegner received input to help acquaint him with the vibrant California Avenue community to help him with the design development.

Project Documents

Public Safety Building and California Avenue Parking Garage Environmental Impact Report

California Avenue Area Parking

Due to construction of the Public Safety Building, Lot C-6 will be closed for public parking. Parking can be found at the new California Avenue Area Parking Garage located at 350 Sherman Ave. Entrance to the garage is located on Sherman Ave. Other public parking lots are available for parking in the California Avenue business district.

Location

250 Sherman Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306  View Map

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