It may be a threat or a bargaining chip, but El Mirador owner Jerome Nash is saying he's tearing down the beautiful and historic 1929 apartment building after the city of West Hollywood denied his request to turn the empty EM into condos or an "urban inn." The West Hollywood Patch reports that Nash claims he has the application papers for the teardown and is seeking to get approval through the courts, since he knows the city's Historic Preservation Commission will refuse to allow demolition (the seven-story Spanish Colonial building is designated a "cultural resource.") The saga of Nash and the El Mirador goes back to 2002 when he bought it with a partner, eventually buying the co-owner out in 2006. Acrimony between the city and Nash started when the owner pushed to replace decaying windows; the HPC denied that request, saying the windows should be repaired. The window issue wasn't resolved--instead Nash used the Ellis Act to evict all his tenants, with the last leaving in 2010. His latest plan to turn the 32-unit EM into condos or an inn were stymied by, wait for it, parking. The city said an inn wasn't an appropriate use for the facility, while condos would require 63 parking spaces and the EM only has 24--the city council "was reluctant to put an extra 39 cars on the street in an area that already has a severe shortage of nighttime street parking."
Members of the council are indeed worried. "I'm concerned that we are ignoring the facts on the ground and putting aggressive public policy ahead of useful public process," Councilmember John D'Amico told the Patch. "I'm very concerned that Mr. Nash has all the cards and we will have to fight to save that building now. And we may [lose]."
City attorney Mike Jenkins is seeking a solution, and has put Nash's condos/inn proposal back on the agenda for the Council's August 6 meeting.
· El Mirador Owner Ready to Demolish Building [WeHo Patch]
· El Mirador Archives [Curbed LA]