After a blistering launch last May, Culver City furniture outlet H.D. Buttercup is expanding its current location and plans to add about 20 outlets in the next five years.

The current 100,000-square-foot store is projected to generate $30 million in sales this year, according to a statement by Evan Cole, H.D. Buttercup's founder and the former chief executive of ABC Carpet & Home in New York.

Upcoming stores will be in urban centers throughout the country. However, Cole has not disclosed the exact locations and when they will open, pending finalization of lease agreements.

Unlike a traditional furniture retailer, H.D. Buttercup features full furniture lines direct from manufacturers, about 50 of which have space at the Culver City store. Cole dubbed the concept "manutailing," a combination of manufacturing and retailing where manufacturers sell straight to consumers.

The Culver City store is taking over a neighboring parking lot to expand to about 140,000 square feet. Once renovated, H.D. Buttercup will include a 150-seat restaurant operated by a yet-to-be-named restaurateur.

Other additions include an in-house design service for customers who want decorating advice and more space for manufacturers to display goods, which range from sofas to bedding to rugs to desks. Among the manufacturers now at H.D. Buttercup are Barn Dandys, Alex & Ani, Good Home Co., Arte Italica Ltd., Revival Lightworks Inc. and Asia Minor Carpets Inc.

Water Politics
The stock of Los Angeles-based water storage company Cadiz Inc. tumbled 9 percent last week as a political play on a regional water board unraveled, dashing any hopes for revival of a controversial Cadiz water storage plan.

Last week, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reportedly lost his bid to install former state Assemblyman Richard Katz as chief executive of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the massive wholesale water agency for the region.

Katz served as an advisor on water issues to former Gov. Gray Davis and is a close personal friend of Villaraigosa. In addition, Cadiz chief executive Keith Brackpool contributed more than $50,000 to Villaraigosa's two campaigns for L.A. mayor.

Speculation had mounted during the week that if he were at the helm, Katz would push to revive a $150 million project to store Colorado River water underneath a Mojave Desert tract owned by Cadiz. The MWD board killed the Cadiz project in late 2002 after fierce opposition from environmentalists who contended that a local aquifer would be harmed.


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