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The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to award a contract worth more than $58 million to the construction firm Webcor to demolish the old county administration building and jail in Martinez and build a three-story county office building in its place.

Built in 1964, the 12-story building at 651 Pine St. was decommissioned in December when the county opened its new administration building on nearby Escobar Street.

The new building will be three stories, with at least 80 covered parking spaces on the first level, and includes a wide plaza and open space. It will offer the county another 40,000 square feet in necessary office space.

“This is really exciting,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. “I know none of you will understand, but there will be tears shed by this supervisor when that building comes down. A lot of my history is in that building. But it’s time to move forward.”

The decommissioned McBrien Administration Building has dominated the Martinez skyline for nearly half a century. Contra Costa County supervisors have approved a contract to demolish the building starting in November and lasting through September 2022. (Google image)

Funding for the project comes from $45 million in bonds issued in 2021, with the rest coming from the county’s general fund capital reserves.

The solar panels over the parking lot behind the building, along with whatever the new building would provide, would generate at least 95 percent of the new building’s energy needs. Some of that would come from the demolition of the 12-story tower, which would allow more sunlight to hit the parking lot panels in the evening.

The building would use only electrical power, have extra stormwater retention, and would reuse as much furnishings and materials as possible.

Some of the departments mentioned as candidates to move to a new building include the sheriff’s office, probation department, public defender’s office, health services, county employment and human services, a central library administration, a county law library, and the office of racial justice and social equity.

Preservationists have protested the demolition of the old jail, which was built in 1903. County officials have said its design precludes it from other uses and its hazardous materials, like asbestos, makes renovation problematic. As would the cost. Some of the materials from the jail would be preserved in a historical display at the new site.

Abatement and demolition of the old administration building is set to begin in November and be finished by September 2022. Under the planned schedule, the frame of the new building would be complete by December 2022, with completion of the exterior being done by May 2023. The project would be completely finished by April 2024.