Suit Claims Builders of Hotel in Compton Did Negligent Work in L. A. High-Rise

Times Staff Writer

Both the general contractor and a partner in the $30-million Alameda Plaza Hotel, rising along the 91 Freeway as part of a city redevelopment project, are defendants in a $3-million lawsuit that claims they were negligent in the construction of a downtown Los Angeles office tower.

The suit, filed last month by Security Pacific National Bank, charges Tucon Development Co., developer Naftali Deutsch and eight others with failing to design and construct portions of the 30-story Beaudry Center I in "a skillful and workmanlike manner" or in keeping with city and county codes.

As a result, the suit claims that tenants have had to correct elevator, window and temperature-control system defects and repair structural cracking, substandard roofing and pipe misalignments discovered when water leaked during a test of the fire protection system.

Security Pacific is the principal tenant in the 890,000-square-foot building, which was completed in 1982 by firms that included Tucon and a development company in which Deutsch is a general partner, the suit states.

Tucon Vice President Michael Wecker said Tuesday that he was not prepared to comment on the suit.

Now Working in Compton

Tucon is now general contractor of the 300-room Compton hotel and convention center complex. Deutsch is a partner in D & B Development Co., one of the hotel's two owners. (The other owner, Lazben Financial Co., is a partnership led by Deutsch's sons, Lawrence and Benjamin. But that firm is not involved in the Beaudry Center suit.)

Construction of the Compton hotel is being financed by bonds and tax certificates issued through the city's Redevelopment Agency. They are backed by revenue to be generated by the complex, rather than city taxes.

Although work on the 10-story hotel was delayed several months last year while an architect revised the design, the city's deputy redevelopment director, Anthony R. Ybarra, said this week that no unusual problems have arisen in the construction. Workers are currently pouring supports for the third story. The hotel is on the north side of the 91 Freeway next to the Alameda Auto Plaza, in the city's Walnut Industrial Park.

Ybarra said he was unaware of the Beaudry Center suit against Tucon. He stressed that city inspectors are monitoring the quality of the hotel construction.

Charles W. McCoy Jr., an attorney for Security Pacific, said construction suits are "not uncommon" when a contractor "doesn't quite do the job that he promised to do."

Systems Were Unusual

And in the case of Beaudry Center, he continued, "they put some systems in our building that were quite unique, and we've had some problems with those." For example, the air-conditioning equipment is cooled by water that is "circulated throughout the building, and that's a fairly unique system for a building that large," he said. "Many of the joints have not withstood the test of time."

The suit claims that when Security Pacific leased the building in August, 1984, joints in the air-conditioning and heating system water pipes were found to be "decomposing, permitting water seepage."

Beaudry Center has been criticized since it was opened in 1983 as the first downtown high-rise to be built west of the Harbor Freeway. A group of Los Angeles developers, realtors and architects branded it as a "lemon" that was an "economic and architectural failure."

But the building has proved to be a financial success, selling in 1985 for a hefty $166.8 million, in part because Security Pacific had signed a long-term lease for the entire building.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
57°