As part of an ongoing space needs study, members of the City Council of University City and city staff members and residents toured several city buildings to assess conditions and discuss possible ideas for new uses.
The Feb. 24 tour included the annex attached to city hall at 6801 Delmar and the building at 630 Trinity. The city hall annex is vacant and last held the city’s police department, which moved out in 2016. The 630 Trinity building once housed the city library and is now used for city storage.
It was discussed that a renovated Trinity building, which is next to the annex, could potentially hold some city hall functions. City council meetings are currently held on the top floor of University City Hall. In recent years, the building’s one-passenger elevator has required several repairs. The elevator, along with the building’s single tight staircase, present issues with ADA compliance.
In its basement, which is accessible from the street, the Trinity building has a theater-like room with a small stage. With renovation, council meetings could be moved to that room, making them more accessible.
The building first opened in late 1939 and housed the University City Library. The library remained until it moved in 1969 to 6701 Delmar.
It was also discussed that the Trinity building could be used as storage as the current library undergoes its own renovations planned for later this year. The Trinity building has 16,400 square feet, while city hall has 33,000 square feet.
Director of Public Works Sinan Alpaslan said the building would have to be tested for mold and asbestos, but that otherwise it is a “solid building.”
The annex has been vacant since 2016, when the police department moved out due to a number of issues with the building, including asbestos. The department is currently housed in a number of modular units located in a parking lot behind the annex.
Since the police department moved, the city has made some improvements to the exterior of the building, spending $2 million on new windows and tuckpointing. Alpaslan said work over the last few years has left the building’s exterior in good shape, but that the interior still needs significant work and is not safe for occupation.
The three-story annex is 49,500 square feet and part of the building was built in 1903, with additions made in 1910 and in the 1940s. At one time, the building also housed the fire department in addition to the police department. The fire department moved out years ago, and has several buildings in different parts of the city.
Over the last several years, the city council has held multiple discussions on the future of building, and where to put the police department, possibly in a renovated annex or in a new building. In September 2019, Trivers, an architectural firm working with the city, presented three possible options. The one recommended at the time was renovating the annex and building a substation somewhere else if needed.