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Historic Novato City Hall to be Moved to Permanent Foundation Tomorrow

Richmond architecture-engineering firm Interactive Resources is the architect for this project, with Vallier Design Associates of Richmond providing landscape architecture services and Alten Construction of Richmond as the general contractor. Project Architect is Andrew Butt, AIA, with Kim Butt, AIA, providing historic preservation and architectural history services. See Richmond Architect and Contractor Team Up for Novato City Hall Project, September 11, 2008.

There was quite a stir when the original time capsule planted in 1896 was opened in December, 2008.

Old city hall in Novato to be moved Tuesday

Brent Ainsworth

Posted: 02/19/2009 10:29:17 PM PST

Marin IJ




The former Novato City Hall is set for a move nearby on Tuesday when construction crews will slide the building onto its new foundation. The work is part of a renovation project of the city facilities. (IJ photo/Robert Tong)


Weather permitting, the former Novato City Hall will be pulled into its permanent home by a tow truck Tuesday morning now that a new foundation has been built, the city announced Wednesday.

The building at 901 Sherman Ave., built in 1896 as a Presbyterian church, was moved 75 feet north on Dec. 5 on large steel girders as part of a $5 million renovation. Workers dismantled the frail foundation, which did not have rebar reinforcement inside the concrete, and built a new one up to modern seismic standards.

The building will be pulled into position by a tractor-trailer tow truck as the structure rides along the girders, said Tim Brown, construction site supervisor with Alten Construction. It will hover over the foundation for about three days as workers prepare to attach it to the foundation.

The move, which should take less than an hour, will start at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday unless it is raining or extremely wet from previous rains.

"We should be OK if it rains Saturday and Sunday, but it'll get bumped if it rains Monday or Tuesday," Brown said.

The renovated building will end up about 10 feet north of its previous home at the corner of DeLong Avenue and Sherman Avenue.

The revamped hall will contain new chambers for Novato City Council meetings and several other rooms. An annex just to the west of the main building will be attached with a new 32-foot corridor. The final phase will be the construction of a new civic green area north of the building where other city-owned buildings used to be.

"It's gone very smoothly," Brown said of the project. " ... Up until this past week, we've avoided almost all of the bad weather."

After the building was moved in December, a copper box - about the size of a cigar box - was unearthed containing a Bible, membership records from the original Presbyterian Church of Novato and a Petaluma newspaper. The items had been buried there when the church was built, and church historian Dick Crocker had learned of the box while researching the church's 100th anniversary.

The water-damaged contents were dried by a conservator and some items might be put on display inside the renovated City Hall after the construction project is complete.

Contact Brent Ainsworth via e-mail at bainsworth@marinij.com