Making history in LA

Friday 28 Feb 2014

PBI-funded courthouse in Long Beach takes home Commercial Real Estate Award

In November 2013, an official dedication ceremony was held for the first civic building in the US to be completed through performance-based infrastructure (PBI). The Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach, LA cost $495m to complete and was designed by AECOM (architect/engineer of record), Clark Design Build / Edgemoor Development (design-builder) and Johnson Controls (facility manager).

“We’re proud to have played a role in creating this building that serves one community and offers a promising model for so many others,” said Bill Hanway, AECOM’s executive vice president for Buildings Places, Americas. “This is performance-based design for performance-based infrastructure, which required a uniquely collaborative process and dynamic perspective. The result is a building for the court, for the community, for today, and for tomorrow.”

Under the PBI agreement, the state pays nothing until the building is occupied. Upon occupation the state has full ownership of building and site and pays back on an annual basis the project's capital costs as well as annual operating and maintenance expenses over 35 years. Deductions can be made if the facility fails to meet certain performance criteria. Expansion room for six additional courtrooms will be leased to Los Angeles County for the next 15 years, with the State benefiting from the revenue and the private sector carrying full responsibility unless or until the State chooses to occupy it.

The 531,000 sq ft facility replaces an outdated courthouse dating back to 1959 which was rendered insufficient for modern capacity and seismically unsafe. The new Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse was opened in September 2013 and completed under budget and ahead of schedule. It includes 31 courtrooms with the potential for 6 more in a future expansion, court administrative space, detention facilities, offices of related county justice agencies and retail space. The development also includes the renovation of a nearby parking structure for use of visitors to the courthouse.

In order to ensure that the building was capable of withstanding the heavy footfall of a courthouse, the team has selected finishes that are hard-wearing but easy to maintain. These include terrazzo flooring instead of carpeting, ipe wood planks for the roof soffits and long-lasting LED lighting fixtures.

A courtyard is at the centre of public circulation routes with daylighting provided where possible. All courtrooms and the majority of public spaces use variable air volume displacement ventilation, supplying the air at floor level to provide a comfort level where building users are rather than using excess energy to cool the entire room.

The project has already won a host of awards, the latest being the Commercial Real Estate Award for 2014 Best Public Project.


Owner/client: State of California Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Courts
Developer: Long Beach Judicial Partners/Meridiam Infrastructure
Design-builder: Clark Design Build/Edgemoor Development
Architect/engineer of record: AECOM
Facility manager: Johnson Controls

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