The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a mixed-use hotel/condominium project at 9040 Sunset Boulevard on Monday, March 15, but not before asking for changes to the development agreement due to the bankruptcy of one of the presumed development partners. Changes to the agreement were also made to ensure that union workers would be employed at the proposed hotel.
The project developers are WN Sunset LLC, which was originally owned by Richard Weintraub and Ezri Namvar. Namvar, head of Namco Capital Group, Inc., had two involuntary Chapter 11 petitions filed against him – one was filed against him personally, the other against Namco Capital Group, Inc. – on December 22, 2008, according to information at Namvar’s bankruptcy trustee’s web site, www.namvar-namco-bankruptcy.com. The web site also lists WN Sunset LLC, the developer of 9040 Sunset, on the list of Namvar’s LLC holdings. Namvar also headed a Los Angeles bank, Security Pacific Bank, which was declared insolvent and was shut down in 2008. However, a spokesperson for Weintraub, Louis Heilbron, COO of Weintraub Financial Services, said that as of March 10, Namvar was officially removed from the LLC.
“The bankruptcy court approved a restructuring agreement of WN Sunset LLC on March 10 that resulted in the Namvar entity being removed from ownership and management of the LLC,” Heilbron said. “Richard Weintraub is now sole owner of WN Sunset LLC.”
Todd Neilson, the Chapter 11 Trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Ezri Namvar, denied comment on the project. The city was unaware of the ownership change, yet still approved the project.
Mayor Pro Tompore John Heilman said he joined the council in approving the project on Monday because of the protections added to the development agreement, particularly one that requires the developers to pay fees for every year the project is not developed.
“I still have great concerns,” Heilman said. “I don’t see how the project can be developed by this developer, but it’s the city’s job to move forward and get a project that will work here. I think the protections added to the development agreement will ensure that we get a great project, and that the developer will have to be financially responsible if they don’t deliver.”
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