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Swap Proposed: Courthouse Site for Parker Center

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, at 08:38AM
Proposed Federal Courthouse Site Eric Richardson

The site of a planned federal courthouse at 1st and Broadway has been a hole in the ground since an earthquake-damaged state office building was torn down in 2007.

It was eight years ago that officials first announced plans for a new federal courthouse to rise at 1st and Broadway, site of a state office building that was declared unsafe after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Thus far, all the project has created is paperwork and a hole in the ground. The state building was torn down in early 2007, but the courthouse project has failed to move forward as costs have soared and budgets have not.

Now the federal government is looking to officially abandon its ambitious plans for one structure that would consolidate courtrooms currently split between the 1936 U.S. Courthouse at Temple and Spring and the 1991 Edward R. Roybal Federal Building on Temple.

Officials have instead proposed swapping the roughly 3.5-acre parcel at 1st and Broadway with the site of Parker Center, LAPD's nearly-empty former headquarters. The move would allow a smaller courthouse to be constructed on the block adjacent to the Roybal building and operations to be more efficiently split between the two.

In a motion that will go before the City Council next Tuesday, Councilwoman Jan Perry said that the swap "might significantly benefit" the city as well. The larger site at 1st and Broadway is adjacent to the planned Grand Avenue Project and offers more options for potential development than the Parker Center site.

At a council committee meeting two weeks ago, a representative of the Chief Legislative Analyst's office said that a preliminary meeting with federal court officials had already been held to discuss next steps. The office promised a report in 30 days.

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