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Black tarp and scaffolding now wrap around the exterior of Parker Center, the one-time headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, which is being demolished to make way for a new civic office tower.

Demolition of the eight-story building at 150 N. Los Angeles Street officially began on August 20 and is scheduled to continue for a period of 500 days.  The entire process is expected to be completed in late 2019.

The demise of the former police headquarters comes despite a last-ditch effort to save the building, which was mounted via a lawsuit by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  The non-profit, which regularly inserts itself into discussions over development and housing in Los Angeles, had proposed retaining the Welton Becket-designed building as a homeless shelter, even going as far as to propose a non-binding ballot measure to garner support for the idea.

However, the notion of preserving Parker Center has long been a non-starter for the surrounding Little Tokyo neighborhood, which saw one-quarter of its historic footprint seized via eminent domain and demolished to build the ex-police headquarters.  Community members objected to a past attempt to landmark the building, and successfully rallied the Los Angeles City Council to vote against designating Parker Center as a Historic-Cultural Monument.

In the building's place, the city intends to construct a 27-to-29-story building which would contain more than 750,000 square feet of office space above ground-floor retail uses and basement parking for upwards of 1,200 automobiles.  The proposed tower, which would cost nearly $700 million based on recent city estimates, is the first step in the recently-adopted Civic Center Master Plan, which seeks to infuse life into the staid government office district by allowing for the construction of apartments and pedestrian-oriented commercial space.

 

Parker Center demolition. Image courtesy of Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography
Parker Center demolition. Image courtesy of Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography
Parker Center demolition. Image courtesy of Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography