January 30, 1998 - From the January, 1998 issue

TPR Reader Response: Reply to Linda Dishman

In the December issue of The Planning ReportL.A. Conservancy Executive Director Linda Dishman argued for the preservation of the McKinley Building, a 1930s-era courtyard structure on Wilshire Blvd. near Western. However, the building's owner, Dr. Robert Larner, M.D., is seeking City permission to demolish the damaged structure and replace it with a parking lot. Following is a response to Dishman’s piece that TPR received earlier this month from Dr. Larner.

"I purchased the McKinley building at Wilshire/Oxford 30 years ago as a lifetime investment. However, two events, Metro Rail construction and the January, 1994 earthquake, inflicted irreparable damage to the structure. Since 1994, the McKinley building has been a building in name only. The structure is a shell with a shattered foundation, four broken unreinforced masonry walls, and a destroyed interior. It is hazardous to pedestrians and an eyesore to the surrounding community. 

"Following the earthquake, reports from five engineering firms and two contractors each independently concluded that it should be demolished. Actual plans and bids showed that restoration would cost $8-plus million, twice the price of a new building. 

"L.A. Building & Safety, the Councilman of the district, and the community believe the building should be demolished. A City-prepared EIR recommends demolition. This same EIR was ratified by the Department of Building & safety and unanimously approved by the City's Building & Safety Commissioners. 

"This structure must be demolished. It's UNSAFE, UNSIGHTLY and BEYOND RESTORATION. A new building will be constructed consistent with the surrounding community that will benefit area residents, businesses and commuters. 

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"Don't be fooled by the Conservancy's baseless claims and delay tactics. Trying to save the McKinley 'building' is like trying to bail water from the Titanic."

—Dr. Robert Larner, M.D.

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