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Under Proposed Settlement, Starwood Entity Would Take Concerto

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Under a new settlement agreement being discussed, developer Sonny Astani would hand the keys of his Concerto project to CCV, the Starwood-FDIC entity that bought the loan on his downtown condo project.

If approved, the proposed settlement, detailed in court documents filed this week by CCV, could end a year and half of legal wrangling and mud-slinging between the two sides.

A rep for ST Residential, which is affiliated with CCV, declined comment, while Astani didn’t return an email.

But at a court hearing last Thursday, lawyers for both sides told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Vincent P. Zurzolo that a settlement deal was close to being worked out.

Under the terms of this agreement, which is not finalized and still being discussed, Astani's obligation to repay the $163 million loan owed to CCV, would be dropped. His counter-claim suit against CCV, a suit pending in bankruptcy court, would also be dropped.

In return, CCV would take the downtown tower project, which includes the third, unbuilt site. The Concerto package is valued at anywhere from $160 million-$180 million. Additionally, CCV would pay Astani a sum ($9.4 million is the figure currently being discussed) and drop their claim to Astani's $25 million personal guarantee on the loan.

The settlement talks come in advance of a looming February 17th date, the day both Astani's bankruptcy plan and CCV's competing bankruptcy plan (which sees the Starwood-related group seize the site) were to be considered. Previously, Astani stated he would try to sell the Concerto project as part of his plan to repay the loan.

Some observers may view this settlement as basically a draw, and a decent compromise for Astani, who no longer has to fear being foreclosed upon or the loss of his $25 million guarantee. Instead, he is essentially getting $9 million to walk away.

But Astani likely would disagree with anyone who sees this as any sort of deal: Since putting his Concerto project in Chapter 11 in September 2009, shortly after Chicago-based Corus Bank was seized by the FDIC, he has spent millions on lawyers and lobbyists in his fight against the Starwood-FDIC entity. His web site, Starwood Killed My Job, is still up and running.

· Concerto Archives [Curbed LA]