ZONE CHANGE: The Los Angeles City Council has approved controversial new zoning guidelines for Sunset Boulevard and neighboring streets in the Hollywood area that will make it easier for developers to build taller and larger buildings. The revised zoning is designed to encourage higher-density residential development near subway stations and bus routes. Higher density along Sunset would be offset by limits on additional development in single-family residential areas and historic neighborhoods, especially in the Hollywood Hills. Critics, who say the new growth will spoil scenic views and increase traffic congestion, plan to sue the city for failing to conduct an adequate environmental review.
IMPASSE: Jakks Pacific Inc. said in a regulatory filing that Oaktree Capital Management LP has ended discussions about standstill and confidentiality agreements that would have enabled negotiations to commence over a potential $250 million takeover of the Malibu toymaker. In a letter to the company, Oaktree said Jakks demanded certain terms in the agreements that Oaktree considered unacceptable, but did not provide specifics. Jakks in October rejected a $20-a-share offer from the downtown L.A. private-equity firm, but agreed in April to talk with Oaktree.
CONVICTION: Timothy S. Durham, the former chief executive of West Hollywood’s National Lampoon Inc., has been found guilty of defrauding investors in an investment company he partially controlled. A federal jury convicted Durham on 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. Durham was chief executive of Obsidian Enterprises Inc., an Indianapolis buyout firm. He and two partners were indicted last year on charges of defrauding 5,000 investors in a $200 million Ponzi scheme involving the sale of interest-bearing notes by the now-defunct Fair Finance Co. of Akron, Ohio. Durham resigned from National Lampoon earlier this year.
NEW NAME: Loews Hotels & Resorts has completed its purchase of the Renaissance Hotel and Spa at Hollywood & Highland Center. The 632-room facility has been rebranded Loews Hollywood Hotel. The New York hotel owner and operator did not disclose details of its purchase from Hollywood & Highland owner CIM Group, though media reports estimate the value of the deal at about $165 million. The hotel will undergo a $26 million renovation, expected to be completed by next summer. The remodel will be done in phases to minimize guest disruptions, Loews said.
FORECAST: L.A.’s economy will continue its frustratingly slow recovery for the next two years, with the local unemployment rate remaining in double digits through 2015, according to a forecast from Beacon Economics. Los Angeles County will add about 60,000 payroll jobs this year – a relatively meager growth rate of 1.5 percent – according to the forecast. Next year, the county is expected to add about 80,000 jobs for a growth rate of 2 percent. The county’s unemployment rate – now 11.4 percent – is not forecast to dip back into single digits until late 2015 or early 2016.
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