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The city's first municipal green roof -- and it's in South L.A.

January 19, 2010 | 12:34 pm

For months, pedestrians have peered around the construction fence lining an acre-sized lot on South Central Avenue -- curious about the Space Age-looking building rising in the heart of the city's inner core. But the Central Avenue Constituent Services Center is more than a curiosity and more than a mouthful -- it's also got the first green roof on any municipal building in Los Angeles.

The 9,000-square-foot, $14.7-million complex at Central and East 43rd Street, a neighborhood City Hall and a field office for City Councilwoman Jan Perry, will open to the public Jan. 28. The Times got an early peek -- and discovered ice plants, rye grass, aloe and cacti growing on the roof, and a huge metal halo of sorts that will soon be draped with grape vines, forming a natural canopy.

Engineers and architects hope to see local residents bringing bag lunches up there soon, enjoying the views of the Hollywood sign and the San Gabriels.

The complex has a host of modern, green features. Towering solar panels automatically track the arc of the sun and will provide roughly a third of the site's electricity. Another system collects rainwater and routes it into a manufactured pond and a cistern for irrigation.

The opening of the complex represents another step in the resurrection of Central Avenue, a storied but long-troubled thoroughfare. Read more about the new neighborhood City Hall.

-- Scott Gold

Photo: Project Manager Ohaji Abdallah, with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, walks through the green roof plaza on top of the new satellite City Hall in South Los Angeles. Credit: Genaro Molina/LA Times