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UC Releases List of 1,451 Concrete Buildings Built Before New Earthquake Regulations

Many of the buildings are in Hollywood.

By City News Service

The University of California has released its list of 1,451 large concrete buildings in the City of Los Angeles that were built before regulations were enacted to reduce the chances of collapse in a strong earthquake, it was reported Saturday.

And release of the list now has civic leaders wondering how to pay for engineering inspections to see if the buildings really are risky, and then how to finance and force building owners to reinforce the structures, used by an estimated 220,000 people per day, the Los Angeles Times reported.

UC Berkeley initially resisted The Times and City of Los Angeles efforts to get the list, which was drawn up with a $3.6 million federal grant but then kept secret by UC Berkeley scientists.

But the UC researchers sent it to the city on Tuesday, and The Times immediately filed a state public records act request to get it. The newspaper published a list of the 1,451 buildings on its web site, www.latimes.com, Saturday.

The buildings include public schools, universities, warehouses, and office buildings. Several hospitals, malls, schools, condo towers and landmark buildings are on the list, as are city-owned office buildings.

Researchers travelled across the city and looked for concrete buildings that had original building permits issued before 1976, when California construction standards were tightened because of the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake.

The list of older concrete buildings was then cross-referenced by The Times with census and city records, and the newspaper determined that about 220,000 people live in, or work in, the 1,451 structures.

The concrete buildings are concentrated in the city's downtown and Mid- Wilshire and Hollywood districts, as well as residential high-rises in Westwood and Encino.

UC Berkeley researchers estimated only about 75 of the buildings would collapse in a major quake, but the survey was done from sidewalks and does not include any interior engineering inspection of the buildings, which could cost $4,000 to $20,000, depending on size.

Lead scientist Mary Comerio said a major quake on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which runs directly beneath downtown Los Angeles, could kill between 300 and 2,000 people in concrete structures alone, and could inflict $20 billion in damages. Retrofitting the older buildings would cut the toll to between 5-50 fatalities, and $6 billion in quake damages, The Times reported.

More than 26,000 people live in possibly susceptible buildings in Hollywood, and city councilman Mitch O'Farrell told The Times that going back decades into building record and surveying existing risk "will create an incredible strain on our own resources as well as the financial resources of our constituents.

"Let's be clear on one thing: these buildings in question were built decades ago, and have withstood many earthquakes since then," he reportedly told The Times.

The list includes numerous landmarks that have been remodeled, and possibly retrofitted, in recent years. The Times noted that researchers said the list may contain errors and may include structures that do not belong there, and may have missed others that should be inspected.


emma January 27, 2014 at 02:07 PM
"More than 26,000 people live in possibly susceptible buildings in Hollywood, and city councilman Mitch O'Farrell told The Times that going back decades into building records and surveying existing risk "will create an incredible strain on our own resources as well as the financial resources of our constituents." So Councilman O'Farrell is telling those '26,000 people living in possibly susceptible buildings' that their lives don't mean enough to 'go back decades into building records and surveying existing risks'. That their lives are not worth the 'financial resources of our constituents' (building owners?) Aren't those 26,000 people 'constituents'?? And that "these buildings in question were built decades ago, and have withstood many earthquakes since then," so the 26,000 lives are not worth taking steps to make those buildings safe. Has Mr. O'Farrell ever taken the time to talk with people who were in the Northridge or Sylmar earthquakes? Those that survived them..that are still alive, that is. If he had I don't think he would continue his oh so casual position on earthquake safety. As far as creating 'an incredible strain on our own resources'....Since Mr. O'Farrell recently got our city council to fork over $575, 000 of our money for his big donor, Millennium's Hollywood Cap Park, and since his mentor in crime, Mayor Garcetti got them to fork over way more than that, of our money, the year before, and just brought home government Promise Funds for the area it is in, and Mr. O'Farrell recently announced to a nonprofit group of friends of Millennium's park that the Promise Funds will most likely be used for Millennium's cap park in east Hollywood (while South L.A. got nothing!), and since he and his mentor in crime Garcetti have gotten about all they can out of the city and the government for Millennium's projects, maybe they can get Millennium to spare some change and invest in making all these buildings earthquake safe. Then again, why would he or Millennium care about concrete building safety, since Millennium's skyscraper projects on Vine, have been confirmed by the state geologist to be sitting on active fault line strands, yet they are still spewing lies that they are safe for habitation and the developer will still move forward and build in spite of this evidence. Is this arrogance? Or stupidity? No matter, it is obviously not caring one iota about PUBLIC SAFETY, and putting lives at risk. An elected official who constantly makes decisions that risk people's lives (getting city council to vote to approve the dangerous Millennium Vine projects) , who lies that dangerous projects are 'safe' and who has no shame about his dangerous irresponsible decisions, but continues his arrogant irresponsible statements to the press, thumbing his nose at the 'constituents' he is putting in harm's way, who cannot see past his developer's campaign contributions (bribes) that got him elected, and who has traded people's lives for the developers who helped get him elected..Needs to be recalled. He and Garcetti should both be recalled.
bill miller January 27, 2014 at 02:20 PM
Maybe O'Farrell, Gubler, Garcetti, Aarons would like the whole city to collapse if the big one hits... Then Millennium can complete its takeover and all of Hollywood and L.A will be replaced by their mega skyscrapers that this group so desires. The People? Garcetti's 'wishful thinking' population fraud in the Hollywood Community Plan to justify higher density in the already choked with congestion Hollywood, that the Judge just threw out, claimed they are coming here in droves.. so I guess they figure the People can be replaced too.
Scott Zwartz January 27, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Garcetti and his underlying Mitchie Boy never have money for safety but always have hundreds of millions to lavish on their billionaire cronies. Garceti took $200 Million from the paramedics and firemen and the LA Grand Jury said that resulted in unnecessary deaths. Garcetti urges hugely massive development in Hywd and slashes the new Fire station 82 by 75% and moves it farther from the Hills and from the high rises. The Garcetti machine has one objective -- to transfer as many tax dollars as possible from the tax payers pockets to his billionaire buddies.

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