|Hayward's Centennial Hall, once |
the seat of the city government.
By Steven Tavares
Centennial Hall, Hayward's once gleaming civic jewel is one step closer to demolition. The city council voted 6-1 Tuesday to begin bidding for the deconstruction of the crumbling former conference center and office complex, estimated at just over $1 million.
The edifices, includes the iconic 11-story office building off Foothill and sometimes derisively named the "toaster", has become a problem for the city since its closing last year. Numerous break-ins and instances of vandalism have made the area a magnet for crime. General maintenance for the buildings, even though out of use, have also diverted precious funds from the city's coffers.
"It's time we move on with this," said Councilman Olden Henson, who said he understands the community's nostalgia for the building and its history as part of the old Hayward Union High School.
Councilwoman Barbara Halliday was the lone dissenting vote among the council, who also believes the structure is of historic significance to the city. "I cannot support it," she said.
Nevertheless, the council's action will lead to immediately advertisement of the project. According to staff reports, Centennial Hall's deconstruction could begin as early as Nov. 15. In addition, the city says a recent study found the buildings to contain significant amounts of asbestos in the fire-proofing, drywall and other construction items leading to larger than expected costs related to its demolition.
The future of the site, the city hopes, will one day house a hotel and convention center along with office space. While Centennial Hall already features an office building, City Manager Fran David says the current configuration of the buildings does not allow for the hotel portion of the plan.