Contact Us

New HQ a Vote for Public Art

San Diego

No need to stuff the ballot box: Lowe Enterprises earns kudos for wrapping up the County Registrar of Voters HQ, the third phase of the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa. The public private partnership boasts sustainability as well as a decidedly artistic side.

SVP Mike McNerney (with Bibby, his sweet, 13-year old Akita) tells us the 119k SF, multi-use building was designed for LEED Gold and will be applying for certification. It's another vital component of the County's new 47-acre campus, containing election ballot processing capabilities and warehouse production space in addition to Registrar staff offices, he says. (Doing all they can to avoid hanging chads.) The budget for the entire campus is $500M. Lowe also developed the center's previous phases, which include four office buildings totaling 600k SF, a 1,800-space parking structure, and a LEED Platinum conference center.

For those who need to save face, the new building's entrance might be the place to go. Like the previous two phases, the Registrar's building boasts a commissioned public art piece. Untitled, Heads by Omaha, Neb. artist Jun Kaneko, depicts two six-foot ceramic noggins: one with abstract facial features and the other, faceless. (The nice thing is they don't talk back.) In addition, historical art is located through the interior of the building. According to Mike, a significant public art program put together by consultant Gail Goldman has been an important part of the development; each of the buildings' main lobbies features a major art piece by local and national artists.

The Registrar's building project team includes RJC Architects, Suffolk Roel Construction, Project Management Advisors, and the county general services department. Two 150k SF office buildings are designed for a fourth phase, though Mike says there are no plans to build 'em until some County tenants have been identified. But Lowe is working on its I.D.E.A. District project with I.D.E.A. Partners on a full block in Downtown San Diego. The mixed-use project will contain 100k SF of creative office space designed by Gensler, 140 residential units, and 17k SF of retail. Mike wants to prelease half of the office space before launching construction and has proposals out for more than 100k SF, mostly design and tech companies.