Downtown's iconic Hall of Justice is coming back to life, with “primary renovation” starting up this month.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which will occupy the 1925 Beaux Arts building that was the backdrop for TV's Dragnet and Get Smart, is champing at the bit. But it'll have to wait until late 2014, when renovation is completed, to move in alongside some District Attorney's officials.

Last month the county Board of Supervisors gave the key green light to bring the 14-story hall back to life:

It gave final approval to a $151 million “design-build contract” that will get this party started.

From 1925 to 1994 the structure served as sheriff's headquarters, now in suburban Monterey Park. The Hall on Temple Street was put out of business and basically mothballed following damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

A sheriff's statement released late Monday reads:

This move will place Sheriff Baca and Sheriff's Department headquarters back in the heart of Los Angeles County and the Civic Center, within walking distance of the county Hall of Administration, federal and state courts, Los Angeles City Hall, other important governmental offices and Metro transportation. It is also nearby key cultural centers, including the Music Center, the Disney Concert Hall, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.

The department notes that Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Charles Manson, and Sirhan Sirhan, spent time behind bars in the Hall.

Maybe it will bring back some of that noir magic to downtown.


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