The former McDonald’s location by the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF to finalize purchase of former McDonald’s site next to the Hall of Justice

The latest development in San Francisco’s yearslong effort to move out of the seismically unfit Hall of Justice building is the expected approval of the purchase of property adjacent to the building, a former McDonald’s location.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday approved spending $16 million in borrowing to buy the site, which has a purchase price of $11.5 million, adjacent to the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. The other costs include debt issuance expenses and site demolition.

The seven-story Hall of Justice was originally built in 1958 and currently houses one of The City’s jail, county courts and some department offices. The City plans to ultimately demolish the building since it is seismically unsound.

Since The City is using certificates of participation to finance the purchase, it will pay back the debt with interest of about 5 percent a year, or $1.23 million per year for 20 years.

The purchase is for the sites at 814-820 Bryant St. and 470 Sixth St., which are owned by Wen-Chiao Wayne Lin and Mei-Huei Grace Lin and Tony Chih-Tung Lin and Jenny Chun-Hsing Lin. Combined, the sites comprise 24,000 square feet.

The proposal, introduced by Mayor London Breed along with supervisors Matt Haney and Aaron Peskin, would provide The City with a site to build a new facility for the city departments that have moved out of the Hall of Justice or will move out soon into leased space.

But what exactly The City will build on the purchased land remains unclear at this time, since plans for a new jail, as officials had previously contemplated, were scuttled, according to the budget analyst report that cites city officials. That proposal was defeated by the Board of Supervisors in December 2015.

“The Real Estate Division stated that no jail is contemplated to be constructed on this property,” the budget analyst report said. “The property is to be developed as an administrative building as part of the future Hall of Justice complex; and the Real Estate Division anticipates that the departments that were in the old Hall of Justice, including but not limited to the Police Investigations Unit and the Adult Probation Department, will be moved into the new facility.”

The City needs to close down the jail at the Hall of Justice as well, but whether that can be achieved through a reduction in jail population or some other plan, such as a renovation of County Jail 6 in San Bruno remains under discussion.

The report notes that The City’s relocation plan to move out city departments through leases was approved by the board in 2017 in the Ten-Year Capital Plan and called for $308 million in certificates of participation.

The updated 10-year Capital Plan approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday assumes the purchase of the property and envisions a replacement Hall of Justice project that “is expected to consolidate criminal justice functions currently in leased spaces.” Planning hasn’t begun on the new building, city officials said, but the capital plan estimates a $417 million project in fiscal year 2028.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the land purchase next week.

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