In recent years, the Port of Los Angeles has neglected historic buildings at Terminal Island – a pattern that plagues industrial sites around the country. A plan introduced in 2011 calls for the demolition of more structures and fails to endorse the idea of adaptive reuse. Local preservationists fear this plan could be the model for an even larger plan that would permit more needless destruction.
Terminal Island played a vital role during WWI and WWII as a major shipbuilding center, and was the place where America’s tuna canning industry came of age. The island also played a key role in a tragic chapter of American history: In 1942, an entire Japanese-American community there was seen as a national threat; its residents were forcibly removed and imprisoned at the internment camp Manzanar.
On August 8 the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners unanimously approved a Port Master Plan Update which provides a path for the preservation of Terminal Island's vacant historic buildings. The National Trust and the LA Conservancy both voiced their support for the document after more than a year of negotiations with Port staff.
- Change the plan that restricts use of historic buildings to port functions only.
- Save buildings facing demolition by promoting new uses, ensuring public access, and attracting new tenants.
The final Plan Update sets an example for working Ports throughout the nation on how a commitment to adaptively re-use historic buildings can be an effective strategy for achieving economic success.
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