Parker Center, the controversial building that housed the Los Angeles Police Department for over 50 years, is officially no more.
Yesterday, the City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Engineering announced that above-ground demolition of the eight-story building is now complete. The process, which began in August 2018, is expected to proceed through the end of 2019.
“The removal of the Parker Center is a crucial first step in our proposed Civic Center Master Plan — a vision to redefine how our City conducts business, serves Angelenos, and encourages civic engagement,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This milestone is a marker of progress in our effort to transform this space into a beautiful and welcoming resource for Angelenos, City employees, and visitors to Los Angeles.”
Demolition began with a floor-by-floor removal of hazardous materials, followed by the deconstruction of the building itself. In accordance with the project's environmental impact report, the City saved several pieces of artwork from the building, as well as components including signage and lights which will be stored and displayed elsewhere.
“Our primary concern throughout demolition of this structure has been to limit the impact on the surrounding community and on the environment,” said Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer. “It’s not a small thing to take down a building of this size in a highly-trafficked area, so we worked closely with the community to assess their needs and concerns and used the highest standards of low-impact methods to deconstruct the building.”
Parker Center, home to the LAPD from 1955 through 2009, has been vacant since 2013. The City of Los Angeles opted against rehabilitation and reuse, citing seismic deficiencies and the presence of hazardous materials. Despite those apparent flaws, preservationists sought to save the former Police Administration Building - including members of the City's Cultural Heritage Commission - citing its importance to the mid-century development of Los Angeles and its prominent architect, Welton Becket. However, Parker Center's controversial past would ultimately deny it landmark status.
Members of the City Council balked at honoring the building's namesake - former LAPD Chief William H. Parker - who instituted policies which targeted Los Angeles' Latino and African-American communities.
Japanese-American community members also opposed preservation, as Parker Center stood upon land that was once part of the commercial core of Little Tokyo. More than 1,000 residents were displaced by the construction of the police headquarters.
The now-empty site at 150 N. Los Angeles Street may not remain so for long; the City of Los Angeles issued a request for qualifications to developers earlier this year for the construction of a new office tower on the property. The anticipated project would be a 27-story, 450-foot-tall building containing 750,000 square feet of offices, 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 1,200 subterranean parking spaces.
Up to 3,200 city employees could work within the building, which could begin construction as early as 2020.
Look below to see a timelapse video showcasing the demolition of Parker Center.
- Parker Center (Urbanize LA)