Remember that recent appeal filed by attorney Robert Silverstein over the trucking route for Clarett's Blvd6200 project in Hollywood, the six-story, Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh-designed project that's supposed to break ground in January? If you guessed something else besides the trucking route might be afoot because Silverstein, behind numerous Hollywood development lawsuits, is involved, your suspicions would be accurate. Meet 80-year-old Margarita Allen, the appellant represented by Silverstein, who lives at Carlos and Vista Del Mar avenues, directly across from the proposed site. For Clarett to build their project as originally planned, Allen, who lives in an early 1900s Craftsman, needs to sign off on the deal by turning over her share of Carlos Avenue, a city street which will be vacated. If no deal with Allen is reached, it's possible Clarett would have to re-design the project so that it doesn't extend to her half of Carlos Avenue.
As part of the negotiating process, Allen, who has lived in Hollywood since 1957, is asking Clarett to either buy her out (she also owns a rental unit next to her home), or relocate her during construction. (The project won't knock out her home, but it basically rises directly outside her two properties.)
In an interview at her house last weekend, she stated that on the previous Thursday, Silverstein sent a letter to Clarett, seeking two possible scenarios: A move-out that would pay for her to relocate, or a buy-out that would see Clarett purchase her house, valued at roughly $675,000, she believes. (It's not clear the value of the second property and if that would be purchased.) If she moves out, but doesn't sell, she says she's asking for $15,000 a month in relocation fees.
But Ira Handelman, lobbyist for Clarett, said those numbers don't match what was presented to them by Silverstein. “That’s a far different number than what her attorney expressed to us,” says Handelman.
Silverstein said he couldn’t comment on what figures are being asked. But he is asking for four years relocation fees for Allen, he says. "We are looking for Clarett to be fair," says Silverstein.
And complicating negotiations between the parties is what Silverstein characterizes as Allen's "sour beginning" with the developer. As Allen tells it, when she was first approached by Clarett lobbyists Handelman and John Bowman in 2008, they asked her to sign documents giving up her rights on numerous issues, but offered no compensation. Today, Handelman says he can't remember if compensation was offered or not. UPDATE*: Handelman points out he did tell Allen to hire an attorney at Clarett’s expense to review the documents before she signed them.
Benjamin Reznik, another lobbyist for the developer, says he can't comment on current negotiations between Clarett and Allen.
Meanwhile, Silverstein is also challenging the project on another front. On behalf of Allen, last week he filed an objection to the Community Redevelopment Agency over their pending approval of the supergraphic signs planned for the project.
Allen's rental property, also located on Carlos Avenue:
· Clarett's Blvd6200 Looking to Break Ground in January [Curbed LA]