Parker Center: Advocates Sue City of L.A. Over Plans & Cost Estimates for Luxury Office Tower vs. Rehabbing Building as Housing Press Conference, Wed., August 15th 9:30 a.m.

In Featured by Rachel Mills

Advocates to confront City on $193M difference in City’s Bureau of Engineering estimate to rehab and repurpose building as housing versus cost estimate that AHF housing advocates obtained.

What: HOUSING PRESS CONFERENCE
Parker Center and Actual Cost for Rehab v. the City’s Estimate
AHF files lawsuit to halt demolition and replacement of building

When: Wed., August 15th, 9:30am

Where: Parker Center (building entryway)
150 N. Los Angeles Street, LA CA 90012

Who:

  • Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Liza Brereton, Legal Counsel, AHF
  • Miki Jackson, Healthy Housing Foundation Advisor
  • Ileana Wachtel, Coalition to Preserve LA


MEDIA CONTACTS:

Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF +1.323.791.5526 cell    [email protected]

Ilean Wachtel, Coalition to Preserve LA+1.310.702.4240 cell [email protected]

Marin Austin, Communications Director, AHF +1323.333.7754 cell [email protected]

LOS ANGELES (August 14, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Coalition to Preserve LA (2PreserveLA) and Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF) will hold a press conference tomorrow, Wed. Aug. 15 at 9:30am at Parker Center to lay out the cost estimates to save the building as adaptive reuse for homeless housing and then, appropriately renaming if the Tom Bradley Center. AHF will also announce the filing of a lawsuit to prevent the destruction of Parker Center and also prevent the building of a new luxury office tower for city workers. At over $900 million, it will be one of the most expensive municipal office buildings in North America. We oppose this waste of public money.

There is a wide discrepancy—a $193 million difference–between what the respected outside engineers estimate it will cost to rehabilitate and repurpose the building for homeless housing and what the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering estimates it would cost to do the same. Here’s the timeline thus far:

  • Well-respected engineers, brought in by the advocates, did a walk-through in July 2018 of Parker Center to determine the cost of saving and rehabilitating the building into homeless housing.
  • After months of pressure from the advocates, the city finally did its own analysis on the cost of saving and rehabilitating the building into homeless housing.
  • We believe our estimates are accurate and the City estimates are widely exaggerated and overblown. The difference, $193 million to house about 700 homeless people.

The city disputes the findings of the outside engineers brought in by the advocates for rehabilitating the building for the homeless. At the same time, the technical experts working for the advocates found numerous instances of lavish, utterly unneeded decorative and other expenditures that pushed their estimate for rehabilitating Parker Center for homeless housing into the stratosphere.

The City claims it will cost $295,235,000 to save and rehabilitate Parker Center. Yet our engineers have pinned the cost at a reasonable $102,170,999 (Links to: comparison of AHF estimate and LA BOE estimate, and Seismic Assessment commissioned by AHF). This $193 million difference raises red flags about the city’s motives. This effort has been driven from the beginning by the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) and the Department of Public Works. Both departments have for years urged the demolition of the building and the construction of a luxury skyscraper for offices for city workers.

“City officials are padding their estimate to rehab and repurpose Parker Center as housing because they are bound and determined to tear down it because they simply don’t want it in their backyard,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF.  “It is a horrible waste of public funds and shows a lack of interest in the cost-effective use of existing resources at a time when the crisis of homelessness in Los Angeles rages on largely unabated.”

We are seeing the very same problem of overspending in the city’s proposal to put a luxury skyscraper on the site. The cost to build a luxury skyscraper office tower for city workers has jumped tremendously to over $900 million. And, when operations and maintenance costs to the public for 30 years and financing are added in, the price for this proposed city owned office skyscraper is more like $943 million, according to the LA Times. (“Here’s the new — and much higher — cost of replacing Parker Center with an office tower” 6/9/18)

We have been told by City Hall insiders from the start that BOE and the Dept. of Public Works will be a major beneficiary of their own recommendations, moving from their drab headquarters in some nondescript part of downtown to stunning new headquarters in what is possibly going to be the most expensive municipal building in the United States.

L.A. ranks second-to-last among major metro areas in providing homeless shelter. For five years, Parker Center has stood empty. Failing to convert Parker Center into homeless housing is unacceptable amidst our growing humanitarian crisis.

AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation Files Lawsuit Against City Over Parker Center

Following is an excerpt from the legal action being filed Wednesday morning by Healthy Housing Foundation against the City of Los Angeles in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles [Case # TBD]:

“Plaintiff AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), doing business as Healthy Housing Foundation (HHF) seeks to enjoin Defendants from wasting taxpayer funds to demolish Parker Center and build and finance a new and unneeded high-rise luxury office tower.  The estimated cost of the demolition of Parker Center and the building and financing of the City high-rise have nearly tripled since the City’s first proposal to between $915 and $943 million.  The City has failed to show that this project is necessary or provident.  Indeed, the project is unneeded and improvident and should be enjoined pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 526a.  The City is facing a homelessness crisis; it has declared a state of emergency on homelessness and shelter because the City has approximately 34,000 homeless people, about 25,000 of whom lack shelter.  Given this crisis, Plaintiff has proposed that the City preserve, rehabilitate and convert the existing building to housing for homeless people.  Over 700 people could be housed and sheltered at the existing building.  The cost of saving the building, completing a seismic upgrade, and converting the use would be approximately $102,171,000, which is between $812,920,000 — $840,829,000 million less than the cost of the City’s current wasteful plan.” 

 

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