Restored courthouse wows crowd

Hundreds of residents braved cloudy skies Sunday to stroll across the new downtown plaza, ascend the steps in front of the city’s 1910 courthouse, look up at the building’s stained-glass dome and say, “Wow.”

City officials unveiled the $9 million restoration, which included reconstructing the facade and columns on the front of the courthouse and building an all-new plaza between the courthouse and Broadway. Work started last May, when crews demolished the Art Moderne-style fiscal building, which has concealed thefront of the older courthouse since it was constructed in 1939.

For many, Sunday’s all-day celebration was the first time they had seen the courthouse’s true face.

“It’s so nice to see what they’ve done,” said resident Paul Owen, sitting on the steps with his dog, Nikki. “Redwood City is on the comeback.”

Singles, teens, couples and families with pets and young children strolled across the tiles of the new plaza, peered into the ponds where new fountains will soon be installed, and explored the San Mateo County History Museum’s exhibits, housed in the historic courthouse.

Resident Maureen Kelly came with her young daughter, Annie, who reported she was having fun.

“What’s your favorite part?” Maureen asked.

“Everything,” Annie replied.

Refurbishing the landmark courthouse is just one aspect of a larger plan to revitalize downtown Redwood City, where a $60 million, 20-screen movie theater and shopping center opened in July.

Restaurants and shops continue to open in the building, including newcomers such as Marble Slab Creamery and Escape from New York Pizza.

“We are leaving behind the label ‘Deadwood City,’” said Mayor Barbara Pierce. “Anyone who looks around can see that this is a vibrant and welcoming community.”

Making the downtown projects a reality took six years, according to Pierce. Both the courthouse restoration and retail-cinema site were beset with delays caused by everything from limited supplies of steel to an unexpectedly wet winter.

But weather didn’t dampen many officials’ optimism, even when Sunday’s skies appeared to threaten rain.

“Don’t forget, we are standing in a place where, 365 days a year, we have ‘climate best by government test,’” said Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Musician shot by off-duty FBI agent on Haight Street speaks out

Man thought official was a ‘fake cop’

Emails reveal another FBI suspect may have given Mayor Breed a gift

onguard Mere days after Mayor London Breed revealed she took a potentially… Continue reading

Video shows angry 49ers fan throwing items at cashier on Super Bowl Sunday

San Francisco police are asking the public for help identifying an aggressive… Continue reading

New plan provides a road map to better transit for Bayview residents

SFMTA to review suite of 101 projects designed to improve community safety and access

Mandelman bringing bathhouses back to The City

New ordinance would amend health code restrictions imposed in 1980s

Most Read