The new West Coast headquarters of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opened today in Echo Park, with about 60 employees adjusting to new surrounding in what had been a former auto showroom. The conversion of the 80-year-old building – which will be named after TV game show host Bob Barker, who donated $2.5 million for the project – into new offices was originally scheduled to be completed by summer 2010. But the job of reinforcing and modernizing the building – which included the removal of concrete ramps inside the structure – took much longer than expected. “We are very excited about our new surroundings,” said spokeswoman said Lisa Lange of the building, where dark floors and patches of exposed brick wall contrast against a nearly all-white interior.
While the inside of the building is open for business, the exterior remains obscured by plywood barricades as workers rebuild the sidewalk. Also, the sign from a former mattress store – Sleep E-Z – still hangs over the main entrance of the Art Moderne-style building.
Most of the employees working in Echo Park relocated from PETA’ East headquarters but the animal rights group has also been hiring locally. Lange said a grand opening is being planned for March.