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Demolition of Parker Center, the controversial former headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department, could begin as soon as this Fall, according to a report completed last month by the City's Chief Administrative Officer.

The project, located at 150 N. Los Angeles Street, would consist of a 27-to-29-story building featuring approximately 754,000 square feet of city offices above ground-floor commercial uses and 1,173 underground parking spaces.

As first reported by the Los Angeles Times, the estimated budget for the Parker Center replacement has now swelled to $700 million due to rising construction costs - a steep increase from an earlier estimate of $483 million.  Demolition costs for the existing mid-rise structure, estimated at approximately $32 million, are not accounted for in the $700-million figure.

The demolition of Parker Center, which has already been approved, is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the CAO's report.

Last February, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to deny Historic-Cultural Monument status to Parker Center, despite a push from local preservationists.  The building is deemed particularly controversial due to its namesake, former Police Chief William H. Parker, who presided over the LAPD during a period dominated by corruption and abuses in minority communities.  Monument status was also opposed by the Little Tokyo community, which extended onto the Parker Center site until the 1950s, when the City of Los Angeles claimed the block by eminent domain.

Despite this controversy, an organization affiliated with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation recently announced plans to campaign for a ballot initiative to preserve the eight-story building by changing its name and converting it into permanent supportive housing.  However, the City of Los Angeles has no municipal election scheduled prior to the expected start of demolition, and the results of a ballot initiative on the subject would be non-binding.

The replacement of Parker Center would be the first step in a larger remake that the City of Los Angeles has planned for its sterile Civic Center.  The new Civic Center master plan, approved last year, hopes to infuse life into the sleepy district by adding private development and new residents to its collection of government offices.

Rendering of the Parker Center replacement. Image via City of Los Angeles.
Parker Center. Image courtesy of Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography.

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