Developer Genton Property Group is finally planning to start work on 55 luxury condos and townhouses on Wetherly Drive near Burton Way, a stone's throw from the Beverly Hills border (the project was approved back in 2009). The 12-story building is slated to include large residential units (pdf) with an average size of more than 4,000 square feet, a rooftop pool, and direct elevator access to each unit from the underground garage. Known as the Wetherly Luxury Residences on Genton's website, the project is also known as the Four Seasons Residences, much to the chagrin of its across-the-street neighbor, the Four Seasons Hotel. The two developments are unrelated, but have both licensed the Four Seasons name, and the hotel is worried the shiny new condos will eat into its profits. According to the LA Business Journal (sub. req.), it's also "complained of the effect of construction noise on its movie junket business." Genton had thought they had a deal worked out--back in 2009, it paid the hotel $15 million, cut the number of units, and promised to set a minimum lease term for the condos. But now that the developer is looking to finally get to work on the project, the hoteliers are refusing to cooperate and are attempting to "shakedown" Genton, according to a recent court filing.
The complaint continues: "Wetherly is now informed and believes that Burton Way [the hotel] does not intend to honor its agreements ... and has determined to hold the condo project hostage once again. It is apparent to Wetherly that Burton Way is, once again, positioning itself to stand in the way of the condo project, contrary to its promises and undertakings and despite the millions Wetherly has paid to date to secure Burton Way's cooperation and acquiescence." But the legal action seems to have brought the two parties back together again; they are discussing a settlement, and a joint statement says the issues will be resolved "shortly."
LA apparently has more Four Seasons hotels (three) than any other metropolitan area on earth. The Bev Hills hotels still has a pending lawsuit over the Beverly Wilshire's 2006 conversion to a Four Seasons.
· Naming Names [LABJ, sub. req.]
· LA Four Seasons Owner Unfairly Stalling Project, Suit Says [Law360]