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L.A. City Council OKs 12-story Westside condo near Beverly Center

September 30, 2009 | 12:48 pm

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to approve a 12-story condominium building near the Beverly Center that had drawn fire for months from neighborhood activists and a nearby hotel.

The vote will allow MCLV Properties LLC to demolish 84 apartments at the corner of 3rd Street and Wetherly Drive and build a new, single residential building containing 95 condominiums.

Opponents had included the Burton Way Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on the neighborhood near the Beverly Center, and Burton Way Hotels, the owners of the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. Both said weeks ago that the city planned to provide more height than the zoning allowed, because a portion of the site allowed buildings no taller than 45 feet.

The fight involved roughly a dozen City Hall lobbyists, lawyers and consultants.

Before the vote neither side would say whether foes of the project had forged a written agreement with MCLV to avert a legal fight. But Councilman Paul Koretz said he believed he had fashioned a compromise that would prevent the homeowners group and the owners of the Four Seasons Hotel from suing to stop the project.

As part of that compromise, the developer agreed to redesign the project and reduce its height from 14 to 12 stories, he said.

"I think everyone has reluctantly bought off on it," said Koretz, who represents the area.

MCLV attorney R.J. Comer, one of the project's lobbyists, refused to say whether his client had reached any form of private agreement with Harald Hahn, president of the Burton Way Foundation. Hahn referred The Times to his lawyer, who had no comment.

In addition to Comer, MCLV relied on such lobbyists as Steve Afriat and Kristen Montet Lonner, who previously handled land use issues for former City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski. The developer also had support from the county Federation of Labor, which spent more than $20,000 on Koretz's behalf in the May election.

Opponents of the project had their own firepower. Burton Way Hotels retained lobbyists John Ek and Rick Taylor, as well as outreach consultant Doane Liu, a onetime deputy mayor in the administration of former Mayor James Hahn.

Neighbors near the site had their own team, including elections attorney Frederic Woocher, who represents at least two of the council's 15 members.

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

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