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LOS ANGELES-County officials who are negotiating with the developer of a downtown revitalization plan have agreed to consider land sites that could be used to re-locate and rebuild the main courthouse of the nation’s largest trial court system, the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The land search comes as another courthouse near downtown was forced to close earlier this month because of a massive power outage and as other courthouse buildings face badly needed seismic upgrades. “There are different sites we agreed to look at where a courthouse could go,” said John Edmisten, assistant administrative officer for the county’s chief administrative office. Separately, county officials are reviewing public documents released last month that outline a proposed $1.8 billion residential and retail project near the downtown courthouse, which is called the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. The Stanley Mosk Courthouse is serving as a replacement locale for several judges and lawyers who were forced to abandon a different courthouse on Aug. 7 due to a major power outage, said Allan Parachini, spokesman for Los Angeles Superior Court. He said officials expect to re-open that courthouse, where judges hear complex civil litigation, no sooner than Aug. 23. Many courthouse buildings in California suffer from structural and maintenance issues because the various counties that operate them are planning to shift ownership of the facilities to state officials in mid-2007. But that transition remains murky as county and state officials battle over who should pay for another costly problem: seismic upgrades of the buildings. John Van Whervin, facilities director for Los Angeles County Superior Court, said a large portion of courthouse buildings in California do not meet minimum requirements to withstand earthquakes. One of the worst courthouse buildings in the county, which is in Long Beach, is undergoing a $12 million seismic retrofit that would reduce its safety risk in an earthquake but does not bring the courthouse up to current code, he said.

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