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Iconic LA sites, 200 schools on list of quake-vulnerable buildings

Reed Saxon / AP

The Capitol Records building is seen in August beyond a vacant lot that is near what geologists describe as an escarpment, an uplifting of land that may indicate the presence of an earthquake fault.

Days after the NBC4 I-Team analyzed data that revealed nearly 1,500 older concrete buildings in Los Angeles may be potentially vulnerable in a major earthquake, the University of California released the names and addresses of the structures in question -- including some of LA's most iconic buildings, the Los Angeles Times reports.

These structures may not have adequate reinforcement to survive a significant quake, and engineers identified the buildings that they believe deserve a closer look to determine if they are vulnerable to temblors.

Earthquake Safety: Focus Renews on Potentially Vulnerable Concrete Buildings

Some of the now-public addresses make up a few of LA's iconic landmarks, including Capitol Records Tower, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre).


Officials mulled the decision on whether to make the addresses public and stressed the importance of realizing the list is not meant to scare residents but to explain that many buildings need more examination.

"I have a concern and the researchers on my team that people could become unduly alarmed and take a course of action that is really not warranted by this database,” said Jack Moehle, Ph.D, an engineering professor at UC Berkeley.

Researched released the list to city officials and to the LA Times in response to a public records request.

Special Section: Earthquake Info, Maps, Resources

Moehle and his team found 1,454 concrete buildings in Los Angeles that may be inadequately reinforced. On the list are dozens of churches, offices, residential buildings, theaters, and schools. Though the number first reported was 1,454, the LA Times list shows 1,451 results.

But Moehle said there’s a significant caveat when it comes to his data.

"Some of these buildings are perfectly safe in their current condition, some of them may already have been retrofitted, but there will be some within this inventory of buildings that are likely to be judged as vulnerable," he said.

The list of potentially vulnerable buildings includes more than 200 commercial buildings, more than 200 schools, more than 100 residential buildings, and dozens of churches, hotels, hospitals, theaters and malls.

Data analyzed by the NBC4 I-Team finds that the maximum potential occupancy of those buildings is nearly half a million people.

The interactive map posted online by the Los Angeles Times reveals at least 214 schools, including:

  • Brainard Elementary
  • Encino Elementary
  • Foshay Learning Center
  • Harvard-Westlake School
  • Hollywood Senior High
  • Lorena Street Elementary School
  • Loyola Law School
  • Marina Del Rey Middle School
  • MaryKnoll Japanese Catholic Center
  • Micheltorena Elementary
  • Mt. St. Mary's College Chalon Campus
  • Occidental College
  • Taper Elementary
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School
  • USC (Some campus buildings)
  • West Adams Preparatory High School

The LA Times map also reveals dozens of hospitals, including:

  • Barlow Respiratory Hospital
  • California Hospital Medical Center
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Beverly Boulevard, Alden Drive)
  • Century City Hospital
  • Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Hollywood Community Hospital
  • Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Kaiser Hospital Panorama City
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital
  • Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
  • Kennedy Occupational Medical Center
  • LA Metropolitan Medical Center
  • Larchmont Medical Center
  • Lincoln Hospital Medical Center
  • Linda Vista Community Hospital
  • Midway Hospital Medical Center
  • Mosely-Salvatori Conference Center
  • Pacific Alliance Medical Center
  • Pacifica Hospital of the Valley
  • Saint Vincent Medical Center
  • Sherman Oaks Hospital
  • USC Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital
  • West Hills Hospital and Medical Center

Some of the theaters, studios and malls on the LA Times map listed include:

  • Arcade Theater
  • Arclight Theatre (Sunset Boulevard))
  • Bloomingdale’s (Santa Monica Boulevard)
  • Capitol Studios & Mastering (Capitol Records Tower)
  • CBS Studios
  • Eagle Rock Plaza
  • El Rey Theatre
  • TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre)
  • Gower Studio
  • Kohl’s (West Hills)
  • Macy's (Topanga Canyon Boulevard)
  • Northridge Fashion Center
  • Pantages Theater
  • Regency Valley Plaza 6 (North Hollywood)
  • Shrine Auditorium
  • Vine Theatre
  • Walmart (Panorama City)
  • Westfield Fashion Square
  • Westfield Topanga
  • Westside Pavilion
  • Wiltern Theater
  • Westwood Village Theater

Renewed attention is being put on concrete buildings without more steel reinforcement than was thought necessary when they were built.

Quake shaking can cause vertical supports to fall, and when that happens, the building collapses into rubble and casualties are almost a certainty, Moehle said.

Determining the risk level in LA will require individual engineering inspections yet to be done. Scientists stressed to the LA Times the list may not be 100 percent accurate and that they have not reached conclusions about the hazards posed by the listed structures.

Last fall, some prominent buildings, including Capital Tower and Pantages Theater, were identified in a survey by the Los Angeles Times as vulnerable to quakes. Last week, the LA City Council supported pursuing the resources to perform inspections of potentially at-risk buildings, but as of now, there’s no plan or funding in place.

"I would hope that some action would be forthcoming," Moehle said. "It is a real opportunity to make a difference for seismic safety."