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Parker Center tower slated for complete demolition in January

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Work is well underway now

Parker Center, photographed in 2005.
Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

On Monday, the giant claw of a large piece of machinery tore away at one of the walls of Parker Center, the former headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Parker Center is slowly coming down.

Vacant since 2013, it will be cleared out and a 27-story high-rise will take its place, holding offices for city employees and services that are now spread across multiple buildings.

Major demolition work on the original eight-story tower, which was designed in 1955 by modernist Welton Becket—whose firm who also responsible for the Beverly Hilton Hotel and the Capitol Records Building—is set to start next month, according to the city’s engineering bureau.

For now, the tower’s facades along Los Angeles, Temple, and Judge John Aiso streets remain largely intact.

Despite the troubling past of Parker Center—its association with and role in the Watts Rebellion in 1965, the Rodney King riots in 1992, and the 1990s scandal in the LAPD’s Rampart Division—preservationists and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation fought its destruction.

Preservationists, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, wanted to renovate and reuse the structure. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also proposed a plan to preserve the building and repurpose it as housing for the homeless.

But in the end, neither group was able to save it.

Full demolition of Parker Center is expected to be complete in September 2019, says engineering bureau spokesperson Mary Nemick.