Thrifty PayLess Inc. announced Monday that it has donated its former Mid-Wilshire headquarters to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Leonard Green, controlling shareholder of Thrifty PayLess, announced the gift of the 12-story building at 3424 Wilshire Blvd. at a news conference that was attended by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles.
The donation completes the exit from Los Angeles for Thrifty PayLess, the largest drugstore chain in the West, which is moving to Oregon.
When Green announced in April, 1994, that the firm planned to move, he was sharply critical of Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, accusing him of contributing to the firm's departure through indifference to its needs.
The decision to move followed Thrifty Drug Stores' merger with PayLess Drug Stores, a Kmart Corp. subsidiary based in Wilsonville, Ore., near Portland.
The gift of the building--valued at $18 million--could net the drugstore company as much as $14 million in tax write-offs, according to Thrifty PayLess spokeswoman Adrienne Gaines. The archdiocese will be able to bring together its offices, now scattered in seven buildings in the 9th Street area of Downtown.
More than 40 departments of the archdiocese--including Cardinal Mahony's office, religious educational programs and social service programs--will move to the new Wilshire Boulevard facility.
Thrifty first offered the building to Los Angeles County to house some of its social service departments--including Children's Services and the Department of Mental Health, Gaines said.
The high move-in costs for the county departments, however, prevented the county from accepting the offer, she said.
The archdiocese--which oversees Catholic churches and parishioners in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties--will own the building and lease space to a Thrifty PayLess drugstore and a Big Five sporting goods shop that are also housed there.
Lease payments from the two stores will pay off a $4-million note that the archdiocese wrote to Thrifty in exchange for the building.
Thrifty's Gaines said the donation was intended to recognize an organization that has done good work in the community and reflects an attitude similar to Thrifty's.
The archdiocese "serves and impacts hundreds of thousands of lives that we also impact in doing business," she said.
Most Thrifty PayLess management functions have already moved to Oregon. The company once had more than 500 employees at the Wilshire office.