Razing Century Plaza?: That's the plan being hatched by developer Michael Rosenfeld, who bought the property last May for $366.5 million and now wants to erect a massive mixed-use complex anchored by two 50-story towers. Condos, offices, retail, a hotel - the whole nine yards. Mayor Antonio thinks it's a nifty idea; many of the neighbors are up in arms. From the LAT:
Rosenfeld has a strong track record in large-scale projects. His real estate investment company, Woodridge Capital Partners, has substantial hotel, residential and office assets in the U.S. and Canada, including a 3.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use project being developed in Calgary. Last year he sold the luxury Carlyle condominium tower under construction on Wilshire Boulevard near Westwood for almost $150 million. By the time the new Century Plaza project is completed in 2015, Rosenfeld said, the economy is likely to have turned around. "This is a great opportunity to plan for the future," he said.
Madoff and the SEC: Turns out that investigators were sniffing around the alleged flim-flammer - and actually found evidence that he deceived the government in his handling of customer accounts. But then, at the SEC's request, Madoff registered as an investment adviser, and no action was taken! (WSJ)
Leaving California: For the fourth year in a row, more folks are going than coming. The outflow started when home prices took off and has kept going because of all the job losses. Note: more births and rising international immigration helped boost California's population by 1.16 percent. From the LAT:
During the last fiscal year, 135,173 more people moved out of California than moved in from other states. Though just a drop in the bucket for a state of 38 million people, the trend remains significant because such declines usually occur when working Californians decide better opportunities lie elsewhere. "I just gave up," said Grace Bryant, a former Glendora resident who fled to Texas after 18 months without consistent employment as a residential appraiser. "California is too much of a struggle."
U2 scores: The Irish rock band stood to make $25 million in a sweetheart stock deal with L.A.-based concert promoter Live Nation. Trouble was, the 1.6 million shares had a market value of $6.1 million, leaving Live Nation on the hook for the balance. The company says it would pay with cash on hand or borrowed money. From the WSJ:
There could be more bad news coming from another of the company's marquee acts: Madonna. In April, Madonna is eligible to sell $25 million of stock under the terms of her contract, even though the stock's market value has plunged 83% since she struck her deal in October 2007. Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapino sought to play down the significance of the stock sales. "Madonna and U2 are the only two deals that did contain this provision," he said. "The Madonna business is great, and we look forward to monetizing our investment in U2 next year."
Layoffs at American Apparel: Several hundred employees are being let go at the L.A.-based retailer (home of the wild-and-crazy Dov Charney). Actually, the company has posted some of the strongest sales gains among major retail chains in recent months. (LAT)
Disney sued: Its main film financing partner claims violations of a profit-sharing agreement for "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" and next year's release of "Hannah Montana: The Movie." Kingdom Films says it forked over $135 million in equity financing and a revolving credit line and that it wasn't getting back its fair share. (LAT)
Is DreamWorks deal stalling?: India's Reliance Big Entertainment put up $500 million in equity for the studio, with the expectation of a $750 million debt package. But banks aren't lending these days. At risk, is a five-to-six distribution deal with Universal. From Variety:
As DreamWorks limps along on some $75 million in bridge financing, they face a deadline in mid-January to fork over $20 million to acquire the 17 projects they were to make at Paramount. After the AIG collapse, JP Morgan had delayed until January its plan to raise loan pledges from a number of other banks. The bank's official position is one of optimism: They expect to raise $300 million in the first quarter as they pursue a more modest staged financing approach. The odds of raising the originally planned hundreds of millions are slim. Universal has committed a loan of $150 million as well, but that isn't going to kick in until after the other money has been spent.