San Diego City Council members during a meeting for Informational Update on Civic Center Revitalization Project. (District 3.) in downtown on Oct. 17, 2022.
San Diego City Councilmembers during a meeting on Oct. 17, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

This post originally appeared in the Nov. 16 Morning Report. Click here to subscribe to the free daily newsletter.

A City Council majority on Tuesday signed off on plans for the city to issue up to $175 million in bonds in part to backfill money moves tied to the city’s 101 Ash St. and Civic Center Plaza settlement.

The vote comes months after the City Council approved the controversial deal to have the city buy out its 101 Ash and Civic Center Plaza leases. Cash previously allocated for other capital projects was among the sources the city tapped to pay for 101 Ash, which it has not occupied for almost three years. The city planned to rely on short-term borrowing and longer-term bond financing to purchase Civic Center Plaza, a facility that city workers have inhabited for decades.

On Tuesday, city finance officials returned to the City Council with a plan to issue so-called lease-revenue bonds to help cover $38.8 million in infrastructure projects that it previously pulled cash from and $32 million remaining it owes on Civic Center Plaza, along with other expenses city officials had planned before the settlement was finalized. They project that borrowing will come at a cost of $11.6 million annually for the next three decades.

City officials have been adamant that no infrastructure projects have been delayed by the city’s move to raid funds initially set aside for them.

The Council voted 7-1 – with Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert voting no and Councilwoman Vivian Moreno absent – to approve the bond financing plan.

The city’s finance team for now plans to return to the City Council in February for further authorization and with that approval, to proceed with their plans in March.

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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