The Los Angeles City Council's Entertainment and Facilities Committee approved the new Civic Center Master Plan Tuesday afternoon, the latest step towards a dramatic realignment of the blocks surrounding City Hall.

The draft document, which first emerged in January, envisions the construction of 1.2 million square feet of new City offices within the Civic Center, consolidating more than 5,500 employees that currently work out of leased space.  Additionally, the Master Plan looks to infuse life into the often sleepy Civic Center through the development of more than one million square feet of housing, retail, cultural and plaza space on underutilized City-owned properties, including the sunken Los Angeles Mall.

14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar initiated the Master Plan in 2015 by introduced a motion that called for a "broader facilities planning document" during the debate over redeveloping Parker Center.  The motion called for redesigning the Civic Center in a more open fashion, with links to surrounding communities such as Little Tokyo, El Pueblo, Cinatown and the Arts District.  This is expressed in the Master Plan through wide pedestrian paseos - lined with shops and restaurants - that radiate outwards from City Hall.

The fate of Parker Center, the longtime LAPD headquarters, is closely tied to the Master Plan.  Although partial preservation of 1950s building was studied in the final environmental impact report that was certified today, the City's preferred alternative is to fully demolish the mid-rise structure to make way for a new City office tower.  However, key elements of the Welton Becket-designed building, including a mural by Joseph Young and a sculpture by Bernard J. Rosenthal, would be preserved.

The Master Plan expects to remake the Civic Center over the period of 15 years, starting with the Parker Center property.

For a more detailed look at what the Civic Center Master Plan entails, please see our breakdown or peruse the full Civic Center Master Plan, which was crafted by the architecture and planning firm IBI Group.

Image via City of Los Angeles
Image via City of Los Angeles

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Four-Story Development Tops Out at 1st & Fairfax

The project includes 45 apartments and ground-floor retail space.

The wood-and-concrete frame of a small mixed-use development near The Grove is now complete. The four-story development, which comes from local real estate firm Conroy Commercial, replaces an auto body repair shop at 1st Street and Fairfax Avenue.  City records indicate the building will feature 45 residential units atop 1,258 square feet of ground-floor commercial space above a basement parking garage. Ovalle Architects, a Long Beach-based firm, designed the contemporary low-rise structure.