Council OKs money-saving move for 400 municipal employees - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Council OKs money-saving move for 400 municipal employees

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council unanimously approved a move Monday of around 400 municipal employees from one downtown office tower to another, which is expected to save between $5-7 million over the next five years.

The employees of the Public Utilities and Public Works Departments have been housed at 600 B St. for 22 years, but will move to 525 B St. in a couple of months.

The city this year paid $2.62 per square foot per month at the 600 B St. location.

Allen Jones, the city's deputy chief of staff, told the council that the final offer for an extension was $1.85 per square foot per month.

At the new site, the city will pay $1.25 per square foot per month, and utilize about 90,000 square feet, Jones said.

City Real Estate Assets Director Jim Barwick said the offices will be "more efficient" and include more, and nicer, work space for individual employees.

Jones said the city's willingness to move has given it some leverage in negotiations with two other landlords. Mayor Bob Filner could announce extensions at those locations within weeks, he said.

Also on Monday, the City Council postponed action on a proposal by Verizon Wireless to erect cell antennas atop an unused water tower in Encanto.

Residents of the area south of state Route 94 appealed approval of the project by the city's Planning Commission, contending that the company's plans would increase blight and were incompatible with city zoning laws.

Suzanne Toller, a lawyer representing Verizon, said the antennas were required to fill a "significant gap in coverage," especially since a lot of low-income residents no longer have landline phones.

A council decision was delayed until Sept. 24 as city staff was unable to answer council members' questions on future plans for the water tower -- which hasn't been used for five years. Also, the council will have to issue written findings regarding its decision.

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