With $100,285,000 in lease-revenue bonds formally issued Friday, Contra Costa County will now accelerate the planning for a new county administration building downtown and a new emergency operations center near Highway 4.

Barring unforeseen complications, construction of both facilities should start in April or May of 2018, and be finished by late 2019, according to Eric Angstadt, chief assistant county administrator. With prep steps like soils analyses and utility line surveys already underway, approval of the bonds will now trigger creation of detailed design drawings that will be shown to prospective builders, some of whom are expected to submit bids to build one or both structures.


There also will be a public outreach campaign in the coming weeks and months, Angstadt said, to lay out what will be built, how it will be built and how construction could affect people's lives. Among those likely effects: the permanent closure of Pine Street between Escobar and Marina Vista, which will become part of the administration building grounds.

The new administration building will replace the 63-year-old, 12-story McBrien Administration Building on Pine Street between Escobar and Main Streets. To the disappointment of implosion fans everywhere, the tall building will have to be disassembled piece by piece, in the manner Candlestick Park was torn down.

"It isn't that the building couldn't come straight down, in the middle of those other buildings; they can do that,"

Angstadt said. "The bigger issue is the asbestos that would be in the dust" kicked up by an implosion and staged collapse.

The lease-revenue bonds, with a 15-year term, were sold to JP Morgan Chase Bank. They have an interest rate of 2.387 percent.

Timothy Ewell, a senior deputy county administrator, said these lease-revenue bonds differ from "general-obligation bonds" in that they don't require a vote of the public. They were approved Tuesday by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors.

"With the lease-revenue bonds, you're leveraging assets the county already owns to secure them," Ewell said. General-obligation bonds, he noted, assume a city or county will repay its resulting debt through taxation or revenue from projects, and that needs voter approval.

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