City Council Rejects Parker Center Historic Designation

Buildings on the north end of Little Tokyo at First and San Pedro streets are demolished in the 1950s to make way for Parker Center.

Rafu Staff and Wire Reports

A week after 80 Little Tokyo stakeholders appeared before the City’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, the Los Angeles City Council on Feb. 14 unanimously shot down the idea of designating Parker Center, the Los Angeles Police Department’s former headquarters, as a historic monument.

“I’ll be glad to see it go,” commented former LAPD Commander Terry Hara, who remembers his years working in Parker Center and worrying that it might cave in one day.

The City Council’s 10-0 vote came in the wake of the PLUM committee’s recommendation to reject the Cultural Heritage Commission’s proposal to grant the building historic status.

At the PLUM Committee’s Feb. 7 meeting, Little Tokyo representatives emphasized that the block on which Parker Center stands was once part of the Japanese American community and home to Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, The Rafu Shimpo, small businesses and professional offices until the early 1950s, when the city exercised eminent domain to seize the property.

The Los Angeles Conservancy, a nonprofit advocacy and preservation group, waged a campaign, mainly through L.A. Times op-ed articles, to retrofit and save the aging structure despite the JA community’s objections.