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MacPherson Loses Yamashiro Fight, Court Rules in Favor of Family

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The two-year battle over the Yamashiro hill in Hollywood looks to be over following an arbitrator's ruling last Friday in favor of the family that owns the 10-acre site, according to a source familiar with the ruling. The judgment means restauranteur Sean MacPherson, who sued the family after his $55 million deal to buy the hill in 2009 fell apart, has effectively lost his bid to obtain the coveted site, which contains the Yamashiro restaurant, Magic Castle, a hotel, and more. As part of the ruling, MacPherson also lost his $2 million deposit, according to the source.

The family listed the hill for sale in 2007 amid much media hoopla, but never spoke publicly about why the deal with MacPherson fell apart in late 2008. Following Friday's decision, there are no plans for the family to re-list the site again, says the source. But the ruling opens the door to the possibility that property may eventually be split up. The Yamashiro site and its surrounding property members are owned by 14 family members, some of whom live on the East Coast. Given the complexity of running a family business, and the fact that the group has at times disagreed about operations of the site, there has long been talk of splitting up the hill, of selling the Magic Castle to the Academy of Magical Arts (who currently rent the historic building), for instance, or selling off the adjoining Franklin Avenue parking lot below the castle.

Farid Novian, attorney for MacPerson, didn't return an email. MacPherson has 10 days to file a protest on the arbitrator's decision, according to the source. Calls to the various family members who own the site weren't returned.
· At Yamashiro and Magic Castle, a Fight for the Hill [Curbed LA]