Parker Center tower, a mid century office building located in Los Angeles that has been left vacant since 2013, is being torn down in a $700 million project.
The original eight-story tower was opened in 1955 and designed by J.E. Stanton and Welton Becket and Associates. Becket was a modernist also previously involved in designing the Chandler Pavilion, Beverly Hilton and Capitol Records Building.
The decision to tear down the building came after city staffers discovered that preserving the building and adding a neighboring office tower to meet the city’s needs would cost significantly more than simply demolishing and replacing the existing structure.
Preservationists, such as the Coalition to Preserve L.A. and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation wanted to renovate and reuse the structure, proposing the idea of repurposing it as housing for the homeless. However, the building was found to be seismically unsound and contaminated with asbestos.
The structure has been left empty since the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters moved out in 2013 and the activists’ petitions for a temporary restraining order against the city were denied.
Last year, Parker Center tower was also denied city landmark status in a unanimous decision, due to its dark and tarnished history involving the LAPD, such as the racially motivated beating of Rodney King and a major scandal in the 1990’s. Many city officials and community members believe the building was a symbol of the city’s racist past and therefore unworthy of preservation.
According to the city’s engineering bureau spokesperson, Mary Nemick, the demolition will take place in stages with the building expected to be fully torn down in September of 2019. A brand new 27-story high-rise building will eventually take its place. This new building will be home to several city services and their employees who are currently spread across multiple buildings in the city.