Millions more set aside for 'money pit' tower

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 21:21:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - By a 7-2 vote, the San Diego City Council set aside $13.2 million more for a 19-story project with a price tag that keeps getting bigger.

Back in 2016, a staff report, said the building at 101 Ash Street was in good condition and would only need about 5 million dollars in renovations.  Now the price tag could reach $27 million.

The city purchased the building for $72 million dollars as a cost-effective way to house 1,100 employees.  

A just-released independent audit says staffers discovered problems, including air conditioning, plumbing, electricity, and greatly expanded the renovations from five to 19 floors but never bothered to tell the council until recently, as the price tag swelled.

Council member David Alvarez voted against the allocation, calling the project a 'money pit.'

Staffers vowed to improve that communication at Monday's council meeting.  Meanwhile, the taxpayer bill is growing.  The city has been paying almost $18,000 per day to rent the empty tower for the last 17 months.

The original move-in date was July 2017 but it now appears spring 2019 may be the earliest.