A Los Angeles City Council committee is scheduled to consider the final environmental impact report today on the 27-story building that would replace Parker Center, says Urbanize LA. The environmental report looks into demolishing Parker Center to build anew, but also explores alternatives that include fully preserving or making some alterations to the site.
A staff report from the Department of Public Works recommends razing the structure and putting a tall office tower on the site, but the report is far from the only source recommending demolition for the building. According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, the city’s Bureau of Engineering (BOE), Chief Legislative Analyst, and City Administrative Officer have all backed razing the structure as well.
Parker Center, the Welton Becket & Associates-designed former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, opened in 1955 and came to be associated with some dark times in Los Angeles history, including protests that followed the 1992 Rodney King verdict and the explosive Rampart scandal which unfolded in the late 1990s.
The specter of demolition has been hanging over the former police headquarters for years now, but there have been some recent last-ditch attempts to save it.
Councilmember Jose Huizar proposed a plan for the site that would involve building an office tower that’s bigger than initially proposed on a site to the north of Parker Center. The plan would allow Parker Center to remain and an office tower to be built (everybody wins!), but a report from the Bureau of Engineering estimated that it would also cost the city $100 million more.
City officials had attempted to get Historic-Cultural Monument status for the building last year, but dropped the ball during the process, and the landmarking never happened.
Since that attempt at landmarking didn’t work out, the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission nominated the modernist building for landmark status in November—an action it rarely initiates itself (usually it waits for the public to nominate buildings).
A rep with the Office of Historic Resources tells Curbed that if the council decides to move forward with the plan to tear down Parker Center and put an office building on the site, the deadline to act on naming the building a Historic-Cultural Monument would be February 1, 2017. That could prevent demolition for 180 days, but not forever, as it’s still possible to demolish landmarked buildings.
If the City Council’s Entertainment and Facilities committee comes to a decision on the environmental report for the Parker Center replacement today, the matter could go before the City Council as early as tomorrow.