Paving on Parker

Morphosis, Renzo Piano, SOM among shortlisted for civic office tower in L.A.

Gensler's proposal, seen here, was among the two out of five teams that didn't make the cut. (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)

Less than three months after the controversial demolition of the Parker Center in downtown Los Angeles, a shortlist of high-profile architects has been released to head up the design of a new, 27-story municipal office tower in its place. 

The $700 million “Los Angeles Street Civic Building Project” as it’s temporarily called, is being spearheaded by L.A. Bureau of Engineering and has been in the works for quite some time. The agency, which oversees the planning, design, and construction of all public buildings, infrastructure, and public spaces, first introduced the idea to raze the Parker Center, previously home to the city’s police department for 55 years, and build atop it in 2016. At the same time, the Cultural Heritage Commission was trying to get the aging building landmarked but failed to meet the deadline. The L.A. City Council ultimately approved the overall proposal in 2017 on the belief that a new tower would be less expensive than preserving and revamping the Parker Center’s 319,000-square-foot exterior envelope. 

Though design details haven’t been released yet, the upcoming 450-foot tower is slated to contain 750,000-square-feet of office space with room for a conference center, a childcare facility, retail space, and an underground garage. Initial concepts for the project lightly reference the surrounding city buildings in the Civic Center District, including Los Angeles City Hall, a structure of similar height. Plans also call for a landscape that links pedestrians to Little Tokyo nearby, according to Urbanize L.A. 

After issuing a request for qualifications this spring, the Bureau of Engineering reduced the five submissions it received down to a shortlist of three. Below are those finalists:

DTLA Civic Partners, LLC
This local team is led by SOM and Clark Construction, funded by Meridiam and Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, and managed by ENGIE Services.

LAC 3 Partners
L.A.-based firm Morphosis is at the helm of LAC 3, which includes Hensel Phelps Construction, Macquarie Financial Holdings, and JLC Infrastructure, as well as Honeywell International in operations management. 

Plenary Collaborative Los Angeles
Smith Group and Renzo Piano Building Workshop are working together on the design for the project, while Webcor Construction, Plenary Group, and Johnson Controls will serve as the building, equity, and operations experts respectively. 

Aerial map of Los Angeles with an orange section highlighted

Diagram highlighting the Civic Center District and proposed tower’s location (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)

Once this shortlist is approved by the L.A. Board of Public Works, an RFP will be presented to the City Council ahead of any further announcements. Construction is expected to start next year and end in 2023. 

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