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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

LA Superior Taking Over Historic Downtown Digs

LOS ANGELES (CN) - State court judges will move to the downtown LA courthouse on Spring Street after the Federal Court moves out of the 76-year-old building later this year, the Los Angeles Superior Court said Monday.

In a statement, the LA County court said federal, state and local government officials had agreed to preserve the Spring Street location, which is listed as an historic building.

"This move allows the court to consolidate operations in a downtown location that will better serve litigants, attorneys and other court users. It also allows our court to help preserve this beautiful symbol of the judicial branch of government," Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl said in a statement.

Judges will move to Spring Street as early as 2017 and expect to make the building home by the end of 2018.

The court says it will vacate the Central Civil West Courthouse on Commonwealth Avenue. According to the court, it will occupy more space and courtrooms at the Spring Street location for the same lease price it pays at the privately owned building on Commonwealth.

When the U.S. General Services Administration announced that the federal government would vacate the building in 2012, the future of the courthouse was uncertain.

The GSA initially planned to partner with the private sector to preserve the building, soliciting proposals in 2012 after it announced the government announced it would break ground on the new building on Broadway in downtown LA.

According to the GSA, the Superior Court's move was brokered under the National Historic Preservation Act between federal, state and local government officials "in the public interest."

Designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the Art Moderne building on 312 North Spring Street broke ground in 1937 and was completed in 1940, serving the public as both a post office and court until 1965.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

The granite and terra-cotta courthouse has seen its fair share of high-profile cases, including paternity suits against movie stars Charles Chaplin and Clark Gable.

In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee met in the building as anti-Communist sentiment gripped Hollywood.

Completion of the new 550,000-square-foot Federal Court on Broadway is expected this year.

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