Two major players in the planned redevelopment of Westwood are negotiating over who will end up operating the Village's movie theaters.

Representatives from Cineamerica Theaters LP, parent of the Mann Theater chain, and developer Ira Smedra's Arba Group, recently met with Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer in an effort to negotiate an agreement that would allow Mann to operate the theaters in Smedra's proposed Village Center Westwood project.

"The councilman has always wanted them to work together because it's in everyone's best interest, particularly for Westwood Village," said Jane Blumenfeld, Feuer's chief of staff.

Blumenfeld said the parties have not signed any papers yet, but they "appeared to want to work together," she said.

Sources close to the negotiations said the sticking point involves who will be the theater operator in Mann's own proposed 10-screen multiplex on the northwest end of the Village.

Arba says Mann can operate its 13-screen Village Center theaters only if Mann does not simultaneously operate the theaters at its own competing project. But Mann so far has remained committed to operating its own theaters.

Meanwhile, Mann is close to announcing that Beverly Hills-based developer Regent Properties will build its proposed 120,000-square-foot complex, located on the current site of Mann's Four-Plex and Regent theaters. Mann will then sell the property to the development company and become tenants in the center.

Mann's proposed Regent Mann Theatre complex and Smedra's Village Center Westwood project have been portrayed as competing projects, in part because both developments cannot be constructed in their current plans without violating the Westwood Village Specific Plan's seat cap of 6,030.

Tensions between the two projects were exacerbated by a lawsuit Mann filed against Smedra last year, charging that Mann had the exclusive right to be the theater operator at Smedra's project because his proposed development sits on the current site of Mann's Plaza theater.

Mann lost the lawsuit and its appeal in late June, and shortly thereafter fired off a press release that said it had terminated talks with Smedra because his project was "out of character for Westwood."

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