An empty, two-story office building in Cupertino
Cupertino has opened negotiations to potentially move its City Hall to a temporary location at 19400 Stevens Creek Blvd., should the city decide to renovate its aging facility. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

Cupertino City Hall could move from its decades-old location — but it may not be long term.

The Cupertino City Council voted 4-1 last month, with Councilmember Kitty Moore as the sole no vote, to open negotiations on moving city departments into an empty office building while the nearly 60-year-old City Hall is renovated or rebuilt. The decision follows years of concern over seismic safety, aging infrastructure and inadequate space at the 10300 Torre Ave. location.

The city will explore the practicality of purchasing or renting a more than 20,000 square-foot building as its governing headquarters at 19400 Stevens Creek Blvd. Councilmembers must approve the final decision to rent or purchase the building before the city can move forward. The building’s asking price is not public per legal requirements and it is unclear where the city would draw funding to purchase or rent the property.

The city estimates seismic retrofitting for its existing facility could cost about $7 million, with the complete renovation costing about $27.5 million, according to city documents. A total rebuild of City Hall is estimated to cost $80 million.

The exterior of Cupertino City Hall
Cupertino City Hall ‘s nearly 60-year-old facility is deemed to be seismically unsafe and too small. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

Councilmember Hung Wei supports the move out of concern for city employees.

“We’re still in the exploration stage, but my priority is to get our staff into a safe place,” she told San José Spotlight. “I don’t think we can wait for another three to five years for planning.”

Discussions about the future of Cupertino City Hall began in 2011. The city received four reports between 2011 and 2021 deeming the building seismically unsafe. Councilmembers directed the city last year to explore renovating or rebuilding the facility.

Some residents, including Claudio Bono, support a temporary move. Bono, a Cupertino resident for more than 10 years and manager at the Cupertino Hotel, said an interim building is key to prioritizing worker safety.

“If it means that they need to buy or rent or do something, it would be better than doing nothing because God forbid, there is a big earthquake happening and it’s during office hours,” he told San José Spotlight. “Then we’re going to have death on our hands.”

But not all officials and residents are on board with the idea.

Councilmember Kitty Moore said the discussions are sending mixed messages, with the city shopping for real estate after it cut millions in services, including the Fourth of July fireworks show. The city cut those services to help balance its roughly $10.1 million deficit for fiscal year 2024-25, largely caused by a loss in Apple sales tax revenue.

Moore said she hasn’t toured the inside of the office building and would be hesitant about moving City Hall there.

“Personally, the idea of a sight unseen real estate purchase in a falling office market is very concerning,” she told San José Spotlight.

Wei acknowledged the budget, but said the move would benefit Cupertino’s future City Hall.

“I have confidence that our budget will turn because we are getting more income, more public taxes,” she said. “That is why we need long-term planning.”

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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