SAN DIEGO — The Civic Center Plaza and surrounding city-owned buildings, which are command central for the City of San Diego, could be in for a major makeover.

The antiquated buildings are in desperate disrepair and, according to Mayor Todd Gloria, wasting tax payer dollars that should be used for other issues facing San Diego. 

FOX 5 was invited to tour the four block area to get a first-hand look.

A stroll through the antiquated buildings that make up San Diego’s Downtown Civic Center came to a halt as the group, including Mayor Gloria, were forced to take the stairs.

“Elevators in this building tend to go down two or three times a month,” said Casey Smith, the mayor’s Chief of Staff for Operations. “You have all of these critical systems and components that are not consistent. It seems like every week we’re having some type of issue with these buildings.”

This perfectly illustrates the point of why we are here.

Mayor Todd Gloria has tasked the City’s Civic Center Revitalization Committee to present a proposal to the City Council asking them to formally begin the process required by the state to redevelop all of the city hall campus. 

Mayor Gloria says it’s just a waste. “Every day that passes that we don’t bring change to the site is more money out the door that isn’t going to neighborhoods,” he stated.

The plan is to solicit ideas from developers to come up with several options for the city hall complex, which includes the City Administration Building, Civic Center Plaza Office Tower, Golden Hall, the actual open space plaza, parking garage and the 3,000-seat Civic Center Theatre. 

“This is a really good example of some of the older equipment we have in this facility when this building was built in the 1960s-70s, mechanical gear. You’ll see a lot of mechanical gear, cast iron pipes, that are all pretty close to failing,” said Smit. “Some of these systems are critical, and they can shut down the entire building.”

And the argument for redevelopment really rests on those issues and the drain repairing them has on the general fund.

Mayor Gloria said it this way, “Our unwillingness to engage this issue has created the circumstances you see today, continuing deterioration, inefficient waste of taxpayers’ dollars!”

The mayor continued saying, “Not on my watch! I want to drive change on this not just because we have to use for taxpayers, but also because I see this as a tremendous opportunity to build the housing that we so desperately need.”

And that’s the other part of the what the mayor sees as a win — consolidating city employees into one new office building, thus saving millions on rent. And building thousands of units of affordable housing, all the while creating a vibrant inviting area in mid-town.

“That kind of vitality that you see on ‘show night,’ we want to see here 365 days a year,” said Mayor Gloria. “And we can accomplish that through offices for the city, improve theater and a lot of housing. That’s the energy and excitement that will transform this part of downtown.”

On Monday, the Civic Center Revitalization Committee will present to the City council. The mayor hopes to have approval to solicit bids by summer and a partnership in place by the end of the year.