City Council handcuffs Parker Center redevelopment

Officials decide rebuild and operational costs of former police HQ would be too expensive

Parker Center in downtown L.A.
Parker Center in downtown L.A.

City money problems have slammed the door on redeveloping L.A.’s former police headquarters.

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to cancel the process for changing the Parker Center at 150 N. Los Angeles Street into a 27-story, 75,000-square-foot building to be used as government office space, according to Urbanize.

The iconic glass building served as LAPD headquarters (and extended scenes from “Dragnet”) from 1954 to 2009, but it has fallen into disuse.

The City Council took action after a City Bureau of Engineering report that warned the project would cost $743 million to build, and $987 million to operate for the next 30 years, far higher than initial estimates.

That’s too much money for a City Council hammering out a budget for the next fiscal year by June 30 amid a plunge in hotel, business and sales tax revenue. A City Controller’s report estimates a $598 million drop in city revenue for the next fiscal year, from a current level of $6.4 billion.

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The decision to not redevelop Parker Center comes amid a sweeping re-examination of the city’s police force.

Parker Center is named after William Parker, head of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1950 to 1966. Parker is known for rooting out corruption in the department, and glamorizing police work by having the LAPD work closely with Hollywood producers and TV shows like “Dragnet.”

Parker desegregated the LAPD, but he also ran a department that popularized racial profiling, and created tension in L.A.’s black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

As Urbanize notes, the Parker Center’s closing was followed by a years-long, unsuccessful effort by historic preservationists to give the building cultural landmark status.

Matthew Blake [Urbanize]