Preservation Magazine, Winter 2017

Demolition Threatens Los Angeles' Parker Center

photo by: Hunter Kerhart

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Winter 2017.

Completed in 1955 and named in honor of former Los Angeles Police Department chief William H. Parker in 1966, L.A.’s Parker Center was considered to be the most state-of-the-art police facility of its time. The Welton Becket–designed building, which appeared in many episodes of Dragnet and other television shows, could potentially be demolished by the City of Los Angeles, which is considering multiple options for its parcel of land in the Civic Center complex.

In a 2014 environmental impact report, the L.A. Bureau of Engineering, together with the Municipal Facilities Committee, recommended demolishing the Parker Center and replacing it with 27 stories of office space for the city. In early September of 2016, L.A.’s Cultural Heritage Commission re-nominated the building for landmark status after a misunderstanding about a deadline resulted in a failure to secure landmark status the previous year. The Los Angeles Conservancy and others have been advocating for the building’s adaptive reuse.

UPDATE: In March of 2017, L.A.'s City Council voted in support of the new construction plan recommended in the 2014 report, bringing the city one step closer to demolishing the building. A timeline for when this might occur is still uncertain.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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