Right at this very minute, numerous people are waiting on an important legal ruling regarding Hollywood’s most prized piece of real estate, the 10-acre hill which houses the Yamashiro restaurant and the Magic Castle. As we reported back in April, the family that owns the site was sued by hotel/restaurant operator Sean MacPherson after his $55 million deal to buy the hill fell apart. MacPherson filed his lawsuit in early 2009, but arbitration proceedings---a process that involves both sides arguing their case before a retired judge—finally started two weeks ago. Today, final statements were submitted to the arbitrator.
As for a timeline of when she will issue her decision, a ruling “could come in a day, it could be a month," says a source involved in the proceedings. Who ultimately gets the hill, which houses Yamashiro, the Magic Castle, the hotel complex, and an apartment complex could foreshadow what happens to the site, which was first listed for sale back in 2007 by the family, a group of 14 relatives descended from original Yamishiro owner Thomas O. Glover.
In interviews earlier this year, both sides--neither of whom would publicly talk about why the real estate deal fell apart--expressed a desire to preserve the basic make-up of the hill. MacPherson has said he might renovate the Yamashiro restaurant, and possibly add a hotel component behind the restaurant, while Andy Ulloa, one of the family members who runs the Yamashiro restaurant, said he hoped he hoped this family would be able to retain the site and see it to its "fullest potential."
Regardless, given the potential for development or alteration of the hill, including the possibility of selling off parcels (like the Franklin Ave parking lot, the most coveted and developable parcel of the hill), many surrounding neighborhood groups, including Hollywood Heights Association, are likely watching to see what happens with this legal case.
· At Yamashiro and Magic Castle, a Fight for the Hill [Curbed LA]