The long-awaited tear-down of the the Parker Center, the former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, is scheduled to start this month, making way for a new Downtown office tower on the site.
After months of delays, rising budgets and pushback from preservationists, Silverado Contractors Inc. will finally dismantle the eight-story building at 150 N. Los Angeles St., which is steeped in history and controversy dating back some 70 years, according to Rafu Shimpo, the Los Angeles Japanese news outlet.
Silverado, based in Oakland, will need to mitigate a number of hazardous materials in the circa-1950s building, including asbestos, but expects to finish the demolition project in late 2019, at a cost of $16.7 million.
In Parker Center’s place, a $700 million civic office tower will rise 27 stories above street-level retail and include 1,200 underground parking stalls.
Mahmood Karimzadeh, principal architect with the city’s bureau of engineering, did not give an estimated date for the project’s completion during an informational meeting in July, according to Rafu Shimpo.
Parker Center was named after William Parker, who was sworn in as L.A.’s chief of police in 1950, and who remained in the position until his death in 1966, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was a controversial figure who brought positive transformation to the department, but who also became a symbol of the department’s racist past.
The destruction of the Parker Building was largely welcomed by civil rights activists and members of the Japanese-American community, which had businesses displaced when the building was constructed in the early 1950s. Through eminent domain, the city used land that was home to several Little Tokyo businesses as the site of the former police headquarters.
Other groups, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, opposed the Parker Building demolition and fought to make it a landmark. It was designed by Welton Becket, known for his post-World War II architecture style, which can still be seen in several 1950-era L.A. landmarks, including the Capitol Records building.
The Coalition to Preserve L.A. is currently gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would transform the site into homeless housing named for L.A.’s late Mayor Tom Bradley. [Rafu Shimpo] — Laurie L. Dove