The 1914 Yamashiro restaurant and a handful of other properties that share a prominent Hollywood hill with the hundred-year-old replica of a Japanese castle were listed for sale for a undisclosed amount this past October, marketed with the potential for all kinds of redevelopment. Enter Tom Glover, son of the original owner, and his son Carlos Ulloa (identified also as the restaurant's project manager), who do not want to sell the place. In a short documentary called "The Sale," director Ben Strang explores the property's history and entrance onto the real estate market, and Ulloa explains that "11 or 13" other members of his family are forcing the sale, and makes a sad but touching case for saving this truly singular Los Angeles building.
This is not Yamashiro's first brush with the real estate market. The property was listed in 2007 and was poised to sell for $55 million to fancy hotelier Sean MacPherson, but the deal fell through, a lawsuit ensued, and nothing more was heard from the place until this past fall. The property is controlled by more than 10 members of the family of the original owner, Thomas O. Glover, who bought Yamashiro and the rest of the site in 1948; there are so many people controlling different inherited stakes in the property that Ulloa himself can't remember the exact number. Regardless of how many there are, the majority of them would like to sell the seven-acre spread that includes the historic restaurant, and that's why it's been listed for sale once more.
No buyers have been announced for the spread yet, and so there's really no telling what might be in the cards for one of Hollywood's most significant parcels. (Marketing materials had suggested that the restaurant itself will be preserved, but could be reused in a number of ways, including as an amenity center for new luxury condos.) The final frames of the film cement the ambiguity—the Yamashiro restaurant will be open for the "foreseeable future," and as long as it's open Tom and Carlos say they'll keep the place running and work to restore it, which is about as hopeful an ending as there can be with so much still up in the air.