A report from the Bureau of Engineering has shed new light on the city's proposal to build a new municipal office building on the site of Parker Center, the one time headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The city has been exploring the possibility of demolishing the mid-1950s building since 2006, when the LAPD was on the verge of relocating to the new Police Administration Building on Spring Street. The process culminated in 2014, when staff recommended that the city demolish eight-story structure and replace it with a high-rise office building.
However, in response to criticism from historic preservationists, 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar floated a compromise plan in which the Welton Becket-designed Parker Center would be preserved and a similar office tower could be constructed elsewhere on the property.
The alternative plan, which require a partial demolition and seismic retrofit of the existing building, would result in a total of 818,000 square feet of office space, approximatley 20,000 square feet of childcare and retail space, and an 819-car garage. The potential 29-story tower would rise to a maximum of 420 feet in height at the at the corner of Temple and John Aliso Streets.
In comparison, the original staff recommendation called for a completion demolition of the existing structure, followed by the erection of a 28-story, 392-foot tower in its place. This plan would result in 750,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and a 754-car garage.
Staff estimates that the alternative plan would add approximately $107 million to the total project cost, and extend the process by one year while the city amends its environmental impact report.
In the meantime, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission is embarking on its second attempt to designate Parker Center as a Historic-Cultural Monument. Although this would not guarantee the preservation of the building, it would impede the demolition process.
Though preservationists have rallied to save the building, representatives of the surrounding neighborhood have taken a more ambivalent stance. The Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC), an association of local businesses and nonprofit organizations, has issued a statement which notes that the Parker Center property was taken from Little Tokyo by eminent domain, and once housed numerous small businesses, up to 1,000 affordable apartments and the former of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. While taking no position on the preservation of the erstwhile police headquarters, LTCC has requested street-facing retail space within the new development, as well as public art and parking for surrounding businesses.
- Recommendations of Current Status of Parker Center Site (Los Angeles City Council)