Condo Potential Pushes Bids for Parcel Sky-High

Times Staff Writer

It doesn’t take an apprentice to tell you that Donald Trump has expensive tastes.

The publicity-unshy developer is in a bidding war for a choice parcel of real estate on the edge of Beverly Hills that could lead to one of the highest prices paid for land in the Los Angeles area.

It’s the latest evidence that developers think well-heeled buyers will continue to pay astronomical prices -- as much as $4 million apiece -- for high-rise condominiums on the Westside.


Trump has teamed with Related Cos., another New York-based developer, in an effort to acquire a vacant lot at 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. that lies between Century City and Beverly Hills, sources familiar with the negotiations said Friday. The sources asked not to be identified because the talks are supposed to be confidential.

Trump and Related Cos. are competing against SunCal Cos., an Irvine home builder, for the 2.25-acre site. Bidding has exceeded $100 million, the sources said.

At more than $1,000 a square foot, it would be one of the highest prices ever paid for land in the Los Angeles region. Prime land in downtown Los Angeles averages $500 a square foot.

The winner is expected to propose a high-rise condominium project, which could include a hotel. It would be one of several plush residential towers planned for the area, including a 147-unit complex that Related Cos. plans to build in Century City. Related Cos. expects to charge as much as $4 million a unit in that project.

Related Cos. and SunCal representatives declined to comment on the negotiations and Trump did not return phone calls. Gossip columnist Liz Smith reported this week that Trump told her he was bidding on the property and would like to see a hotel on the site.

Malibu developer Lawrence Taylor, who said he manages the limited liability corporation that owns the property Trump wants, called reports of the bidding “unfounded speculation.”

Beverly Hills developer Donald T. Sterling and Taylor are involved in a suit over terms of the ownership of the property, which is being auctioned through Bankruptcy Court, people who know about the sale said.

The site once held a five-story office building erected in 1970 that once housed Jimmy’s, a popular restaurant that closed in 2000.

The new owner must get the site rezoned for residential use and faces competition from other developments. There is also the prospect of opposition from nearby homeowners concerned about congestion.

“All of the change makes us anxious and concerned that we’re going to lose what we’ve got,” said Kevin Hughes, president of the Cheviot Hills Homeowners Assn.

Developer David Margulies of New Pacific Realty, which plans to build a $500-million condo development on the nearby eight-acre site of the former Robinsons-May department store in Beverly Hills, noted that the property Trump wanted was in Los Angeles.

“Beverly Hills has set the standard for luxury throughout the world. With all due respect to Mr. Trump, [his is] clearly a secondary location,” Margulies said. “And we have better hair.”