Plans to convert a vacant police station built in 1926 in Highland Park into commercial offices and to build 30 adjoining retail stores have been suspended while Los Angeles city officials study the feasibility of using the landmark building as a community center.
Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre approved the study last week at the urging of about 30 Highland Park residents. The local activists, who represent civic and historical groups, had protested the proposed conversion, claiming that the community needs a meeting place more than a shopping center.
"I'm extremely pleased," said Donna Harnsberger, president of the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. "We're desperate. We're presently transients in our own community, and most of our organizations have no home."
Alatorre's decision suspends a previous plan to sell the 1.3-acre site to developer Maurice R. Chasse of Alhambra. In September, Alatorre endorsed a proposal submitted by Chasse to build 34,000 square feet of office and commercial space on the York Boulevard site, saying the project would inject new life into the area's sleepy commercial district.