blogdowntown 89.3 KPCC | Southern California Public Radio

Stay Connected

@blogdowntown on Twitter
blogdowntown on Facebook


City West's Garland Building More Than Meets the Eye

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 11:19PM
Garland Building Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The Garland Building, on 7th street, west of the 110 freeway.

While waiting for existing tenant leases in Figueroa Plaza to expire, three city departments will be extending their leases in the Garland Building, a City West office building that's got a little more going on than one sees at first glance.

Located just west of the 110 freeway at 1200 W. 7th street, the Garland Building is a bit like an iceberg. It contains 770,000 square feet of space, but rises only nine stories. For comparison, U.S. Bank Tower packs just under twice that much space into its 73 stories. Hidden underneath the Garland Building's nine above-ground floors are three subterranean expanses, each adding 125,000 square feet to the building's total.

Opened in 1983, the structure was designed as an administrative and operations center for First Interstate Bank. The building featured 150,000 square feet of raised floor space for the bank's central computers. A 1981 L.A. Times article made special note of the underground levels.

A special feature of the building is three subterranean floors of 125,000 square feet each -- nearly three acres -- to provide security for computers and central cash. Since each of these floors is roughly equivalent to six average office building floors, the three floors really constitute an underground "high-rise" 18 stories deep, according to architect Bob Langdon.

In 1996, First Interstate was acquired by Wells Fargo. The merger stripped L.A. of its last major headquartered financial institution and led to thousands of layoffs.

The new owners opened the Garland Building up for other uses. The city started moving in just a few years ago, with the Los Angeles Housing Department taking a lease in 2003. The Department of Recreation and Parks followed in 2004, and the Community Development Department joined in 2005. At present the city leases just over 220,000 square feet in the building. A tentative schedule has Rec & Parks moving to Figueroa Plaza in 2009, LAHD in 2013, and CDD not until 2023.

And that underground space? These days it's still used for computers, operating as one of Downtown's surprisingly numerous data centers. The building got a bit of notoriety in July of 2006, when a series of power issues knocked MySpace offline.


Tweet This Story || Share on Facebook

Related Stories: