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Agency’s New Energy-Saving Office Building Dedicated to Efficiency

The 11-story Allenby Building in downtown Sacramento is the new home of the California Health and Human Services Agency and two of its components, the Department of State Hospitals and the Department of Developmental Services.

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Allenby Building
The new home of the sprawling California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) was dedicated Friday — the first new office building constructed in downtown Sacramento in almost 20 years.

The $232 million project, which got underway in 2018, was already designed to accommodate teleworking, and further changes were made once the COVID-19 pandemic sent as many as 70 percent of state workers to their home offices for good. With fewer state workers needing office space, plans were revised to consolidate the smaller in-office workforces of two of CHHS’ subsidiary entities, the Department of State Hospitals and the Department of Developmental Services.

The 11-story Clifford L. Allenby Office Building, at 1215 O St., “is the first of a new type of state workspace,” according to a news release from the Department of General Services, the state’s business office, which oversaw the project.

“The building includes a modern and open work environment for efficiency and productivity featuring collaborative workspaces, natural daylight and solar shading,” said DGS’ newly appointed director, Ana M. Lasso.

The building is named for the late Clifford Allenby, a longtime state government executive whose roles included the directorship of what became DGS.

More than 1,200 staff members from CHHS, DSH and DSS will work in the 374,000-square-foot building — the first building of 10 total projects to be completed in DGS’ “10-year sequencing plan” for the renovation or replacement of state workplaces in the Sacramento area. “It replaces the vacant California Department of Food and Agriculture Annex Building, from which 30,000,000 pounds of concrete and steel were diverted for recycling,” DGS said.

“We are very proud of this LEED Platinum certified, zero-net energy project that’s being completed within budget,” said Jason Kenney, deputy director of the DGS Real Estate Services Division. “Our dedicated team overcame the obstacles they encountered while dealing with COVID-19 as they continued to work throughout the past year.”

In addition to the office space, the building has a retail marketplace, a food court, public art and a pedestrian plaza.

DGS officials attributed much of the project’s success to “design-build” contracting methodology and DGS’ implementation of Lean principles.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.