Letters to the Editor: Help for ‘zombie’ downtown L.A. buildings? Not from City Hall

Downtown Los Angeles' skyline is seen from Kenneth Hahn State Park on Dec. 13, 2022.
Downtown Los Angeles’ skyline is seen from Kenneth Hahn State Park on Dec. 13, 2022.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It would benefit Los Angeles if its government paused and considered in retrospect the net results of facilitating the mass emptying of office buildings in a somewhat questionable response to COVID-19. Did authorities not realize they would kick off a massive work-from-home movement that would continue long after the COVID-19 risk had passed? (“Downtown L.A.’s ‘zombies’: How to fight a post-COVID plague of undead office buildings,” Opinion, June 11)

I suspect any plan the city puts in place to remedy the downtown L.A. office building vacancy situation will be ill-conceived and again prove the law of unintended consequences. The best answer lies in the private sector.

The city can drop zoning restrictions and provide prompt, automatic and inexpensive permits for all projects that meet building and safety regulations. It can provide prompt inspections and occupancy permits, and then get out of the way and stay out of the way.


No bribes to City Council members. No NIMBY hearings at City Hall. No social justice requirements.

Douglas Hughes, Glendale


To the editor: The plight of downtown L.A.’s “zombie office buildings” is nothing new. We saw it in the 2007-09 Great Recession and before then, when historic office buildings on Spring Street and Broadway were left largely empty for 30 years.

What is new is that after 40 years of trying, downtown has changed from an old-style center of government and business into a sizable residential neighborhood anchored by sports, entertainment, education and the arts.

Note to civic and business leaders: Don’t let this golden opportunity to repurpose some of our zombie office buildings pass us by.

Dan Constant, Manhattan Beach



To the editor: I have just one thing to say about the buildings going up — who let loose the giant kids with the giant Legos in downtown Los Angeles?

That area has become another Legoland with block buildings that lack any style or character, but are just shiny mirrored objects that reflect heat and light and add to the pollution concentrated around them.

Linda Bradshaw Carpenter, Los Angeles