Billionaire developer Alan Casden, who earlier this year made headlines with a surprising bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is once again struggling to maintain ownership of properties in his portfolio.
And this time the fight is close to home.
Lenders this month filed foreclosure papers on three of his Beverly Hills office properties, including his headquarters at Wilshire Boulevard and Doheny Drive.
Wachovia Bank Commercial Mortgage Trust alleges Casden has been in default on more than $63 million in loans, interest and fees on properties at 8942, 9150 and 9090 Wilshire Blvd., the last of which is the headquarters of Casden’s companies.
Casden issued a statement through a spokeswoman that maintained the foreclosure filing stems from a disagreement over payments on the debt.
“Casden Properties is in a dispute with the lender and has submitted a restructuring proposal. It is awaiting a response,” the statement read.
The filing comes amid Casden’s prolonged and nasty breakup with New York private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus was his partner on seven developments in Los Angeles and Ventura counties acquired during the real estate boom.
After the partnership failed to develop all but one of the properties, they fell into foreclosure and Cerberus seized several of them from Casden last year.
Also, the Business Journal has learned that his high-profile West Hollywood Movietown property, which was wrested away by Cerberus, is about to be sold to a third party in a final blow for Casden’s development plans there.
However, the 66-year-old developer has had some successes. Last June, he was able to hold on to the 350-unit Westwood Palazzo, which he opened in 2008. He bought it from the partnership with Cerberus for roughly $280 million, according to a source. Casden also was also able to find a new money partner in the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which bought a 49 percent stake in the Westwood Palazzo.
Casden is now moving forward outside of the Cerberus partnership on a massive transit-oriented development in West Los Angeles along the Expo rail-line extension. A key environmental impact report was released this month.
The three office properties under threat of foreclosure total more than 200,000 square feet of leasable space within a four-block stretch on Wilshire.
The 80,000-square-foot, three-story building at 8942 Wilshire was developed by Casden in 1986 and is across the street from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is home to entertainment tenants, including talent agency Safier Entertainment.
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