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LOS ANGELES : County to Drop Developer for Failure to Build on Lot

An empty lot across the street from Los Angeles City Hall will remain one of the city’s most prominent eyesores for the time being. Officials declared their intent Tuesday to dismiss the developer who has failed to fulfill longstanding plans to build a plaza and office buildings there.

Sally Reed, chief administrative officer of Los Angeles County, said in a memo to county supervisors that she intends to cancel a lease that had given developer Raffi Cohen the right to develop the property at 1st Street and Broadway.

The county, city and state, which jointly own the property, signed a 66-year lease for development of the lot in 1990. But officials complained that Cohen and partner Melvin Simon failed to make improvements and fell $2.3 million behind in rent and taxes.

Reed told supervisors she will declare the developers in default, seize $1.5 million guaranteed in a performance letter of credit and throw the future of the property open to new proposals.

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