Westwood : L.A. Condemns Site on Pico


In a bid to provide additional parking on congested Pico Boulevard, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to condemn a vacant building on the northwest corner of Pico and Midvale Avenue for a 42-space parking lot.

The action came despite last-minute pleas from both the owner and renter of the building, which is being renovated for a restaurant. Owner Malcolm Andruss said the property--across the street from the Westside Pavilion shopping mall--is “the only reliable source of income” for his family.

“I think what was done was totally wrong and unfair,” said Andruss, who has turned down offers from the city to buy the property.


The building is currently leased to Mels Drive-In restaurant, which had planned to open one of its establishments there. Attorney Kenneth Bley, representing the restaurant, contended it was inappropriate to locate a parking lot across the street from the shopping mall, which is building a 1,000-space parking garage at the southwest corner of Westwood and Pico boulevards.

But Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents the area, said the lot is needed to address parking problems on the north side of Pico. “This property has been vacant for five years,” he said. “It has been an eyesore in the neighborhood.”

City officials said they expect to pay $2.2 million for the property and spend an additional $372,000 to build the parking lot.