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Washington Building

March 04, 2001

* Re "Seismic Engineers Deem Their New Building Unsafe," Feb. 22: The true issue is "how earthquake-safe the buildings occupied by state workers have to be." What the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development engineers really contend is that none of the buildings located in the downtown historic core should be occupied by state workers.

In 1993 the state adopted a policy mandating the use of four buildings near the Reagan building, as a program for the revitalization of downtown. We are the general partners of a family partnership that since 1964 has owned the Washington building, at the southwest corner of Third and Spring.

In 1999, after more than four years of planning and negotiation, we entered into long-term leases with the state calling for an investment of more than $13 million, with particular attention to seismic criteria. Our construction was completed in July, but the OSHPD engineers (not the state engineers designated to oversee and approve the seismic retrofitting plans) continued their objections. In response, the state has asked us to install additional structural improvements. We are proud of our 37-year custodianship of the Washington building, which has never had any significant earthquake damage in its 87 years, and of being part of the rebirth of the historic core.

GILBERT DREYFUSS

NORMAN DREYFUSS

Los Angeles

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