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New City Hall and Civic Center

The City of Carlsbad’s current city hall located on Carlsbad Village Drive just east of I-5 was built in 1967 and has since expanded its operations from city hall to multiple locations around the city. As a result, residents, business owners and others needing services or information from the city are faced with a confusing and inefficient array of buildings, many of which need significant maintenance and modernization. In addition, the City Council chamber is frequently at capacity and cannot accommodate all the people who want to participate in their local government meetings. 

In 2016 the City Council made planning for a new city hall one of its top goals and has completed several studies, analyses and community outreach efforts to understand the criteria most important to residents and city staff in planning and selecting a new location.

Community Input

The City of Carlsbad is planning to gather additional public input via digital surveys in spring 2020. Future workforce trends and operational needs will be applied to each of the city-owned properties to further identify the community’s values related to a new city hall and civic center complex location. To be notified about upcoming surveys and public input opportunities, please sign up for the City Hall & Civic Center Project list

In 2018, city staff held two community input workshops and a variety of online surveys to Carlsbad residents, frequent users of the Faraday Center public counter and frequent users of the City Council Chamber that provided a wide range of input to help inform the project scoping and site criteria.

We asked the community questions like:

  • How could the city support its core values with community spaces, activities and amenities as part of a city hall project?
  • What types of public spaces and activities would you like to see more of in Carlsbad?
  • When you are out and about in Carlsbad, where and when do you most feel the greatest sense of community?
  • What do you most like in existing spaces in Carlsbad that should be considered in creating new spaces? What do you dislike that should be avoided?

The Project 

A new city hall would consolidate the main administrative functions of the city into one location and provide meeting rooms and other spaces to accommodate city business, including the City Council chamber.

Because we’re building a new city hall, there is an opportunity to add new public gathering spaces as part of the design, to increase the sense of community in our city. These could include park land, event space, recreation areas, an art venue or a library.

Project Funding

The city has set aside money from developer fees for many years, and this money can only be used for a new city hall. The city hall project won’t raise taxes, and the city will not have to borrow money to build it. Depending on what else is included with the project the city would develop a funding plan for those additional elements.

Potential Locations

Based on the city’s needs for its administrative functions and the community’s ideas for a future civic center, the city will select the best site from among four city owned properties that have been identified as potential locations:

  1. Existing city hall location (including Cole Library, the community garden and adjacent vacant lots)
  2. Western parking lot of Senior Center/Pine Avenue Community Park (would include underground parking that could be shared with the Village and Barrio on nights and weekends)
  3. Current location of city’s Faraday Administration Center plus the vacant lot next door
  4. Former Farmers Insurance site at the corner of El Camino Real and Faraday Avenue (closest to the geographic center of the city)

Timeline

  • Spring/Summer 2018: Technical research and public input
  • Fall 2018: Conceptual site plans and initial cost estimates for each site
  • Winter/Spring 2020:  Public input and City Council selects preferred site
  • Winter 2023: City breaks ground on new city hall

Quick links

More Information

Contact project manager Curtis Jackson, curtis.jackson@carlsbadca.gov, 760-434-2836

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