Word along the Miracle Mile has the Callender’s Grill on the 5700 block of Wilshire Boulevard – right across the street from the La Brea Tar Pits – shutting down as part of a plan to add a residential high-rise to the adjacent SAG-AFTRA building owned by J.H. Snyder Co. Not so, according to sources in the know, who indicate the restaurant, once known as a flagship for the Marie Callender’s chain, took a pass on a new lease that would have come with a steep rent increase. The plan for a high-rise has no bearing on the retail that fronts Wilshire, sources say. The final day of service for the restaurant was set for Sunday, July 15, as this column went to press. I’ve mentioned before that the ground-level retail scene on the Miracle Mile is due for a makeover – and the exit of the Callender’s Grill might signal a start …The staff of 70 at the Miracle Mile restaurant got a couple of weeks’ notice, and most of them worked their shifts up to the end, although the menu was getting spotty as the place ran out of certain ingredients and orders of supplies ceased during the run up to the farewell … The staffers will no doubt miss Frank Mottek, the golden-voiced KNX newsman, who lives and works within walking distance and was a favorite at the restaurant, where his persona as a remarkably well-mannered celebrity also won fans among fellow diners … A couple of other makeovers noted in our Real Estate Quarterly – a Special Report that starts on page 22 – reminds us of how long the newspaper industry has been in transition. Seems renovations are expected to begin soon on both the long-empty Los Angeles Herald Examiner Building on Broadway and the Los Angeles Times building on Spring Street, where staffers are in the process of moving to El Segundo under new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong … Anyone else notice that a unit of Soon-Shiong’s biotech operations has become one of the most prominent advertisers in the Times, with a half-page ad for NKTrial.com running regularly lately. The website is linked to the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Medicine, which is named for the billionaire’s wife and is part of the holdings that net out to a personal fortune estimated at $21.6 billion on the Business Journal’s most recent list of Wealthiest Angelenos … A wag with some insight tells me that the several candidates who make up the list of finalists to replace Judy Olian in the dean’s job at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management recently toured the campus – and a final decision is close … Word around downtown says don’t expect USC’s search for a new president to replace Max Nikias to get started in earnest until summer is over …Let the parlor games begin on who might be eyeing the 122-acre swath of Beverly Crest that Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen has put up for sale with a price tag of $120 million. Also note that the same swath of land inspired Barbara Fine, the late mother of our longtime reporter Howard Fine, to go from homemaker to activist by taking a stand against a developer’s plans for dozens of homes on the site back in the 1970s. She led a campaign that ultimately stopped the project, and went on to build a long and successful career as a consultant for groups opposing development projects on environmental grounds … Any future residential development of the site won’t get close to even one dozen homes – it’s being offered as a compound for a single owner or as five lots … Anyone thinking about buying any part of the Beverly Crest land ought to be of the sort who knows the difference between a tailor-made suit and a bespoke number. Anyone who doesn’t should ask Arthur Saryan, who’s combining an L.A. sense of style with classic Italian craftmanship in a bespoke line he plans to make mobile, with house or office calls for consultations and measurements. Visit saryansarthur.com to get a sense of what he’s cooking up down on Santee Street in the Fashion District … Sullivan Says: The last great $5 lunch is the Pork Chashu Bowl at La Brea Ramen Bar at 850 S. La Brea.
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