Parker Center, former LAPD headquarters, to be demolished to make way for office tower

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A plan to demolish Parker Center, the former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, has moved forward after a unanimous vote by the city council.

Twelve council members voted to adopt a 15-year civic center master plan that includes office space, retail locations and housing. The proposal was heavily pushed by Parker Center's neighbor, Little Tokyo.

After World War II, the city seized blocks of the area's business district through eminent domain, just as many Japanese Americans were returning from internment camps.

"To lose that entire quarter of the neighborhood right after coming back from incarceration was devastating," said Kristin Fukushima, managing director of the Little Tokyo Community Council. "It's something that people still remember and emotionally hold."

Councilmember Jose Huizar led the drive for a broad plan that will connect the civic center to Little Tokyo and its neighbors, Chinatown and El Pueblo.

"Parker Center was built in such a way that it turned its back on Little Tokyo. It wasn't inviting," Huizar said. "It was as if you did not matter."

A 27-story office tower is slated to replace the longtime LAPD headquarters, which was made famous in movies and the TV series "Dragnet."

Though preservationists attempted to save Park Center, the city determined the building was seismically at-risk and fixing it would cost more than erecting a new structure.

"Our staff now is looking to see how we start phasing in and acquiring the dollars," Huizar said. "We do have a timeline."

During the first phase, iconic elements are slated to be removed from the building as crews prepare it for demolition.
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