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Key players in hotel fight ask for time

Negotiations continue on redevelopment proposals due last week. Patel and Caruso representatives keep quiet about the talks.

February 21, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

Representatives of the Americana at Brand and Golden Key Hotel plan have asked for another week to discuss a deal that would allow the mall to expand.

On Monday, Americana developer Rick Caruso, and Golden Key owner Ray Patel sent a letter to Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird seeking to put off a hearing on competing redevelopment proposals until March 1.

The City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, granted the first one-week extension on Feb. 15, when a standing-room-only crowd packed the chambers for a hearing on whether to approve Caruso’s plan to demolish the hotel and expand the Americana. The billionaire developer Caruso has proposed spending $40 million or more to add 135,000 square feet of retail space, widen Colorado Street and create a new pedestrian walkway into the mall.

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In December, Patel rejected Caruso’s $6-million buyout offer. A lawsuit filed by Patel in 2008 that alleged the city and Caruso interfered with his business during construction of the mall is still pending.

Asked Monday how negotiations were going, Patel said, “I can’t say much other than that we’re still talking.” He declined to say how often the two sides have met since Feb. 15.

A Caruso Affiliated representative declined to comment.

City spokesman Tom Lorenz said the letter from Caruso and Patel would be presented to the Redevelopment Agency during its regular 2:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.

Lorenz said their request would “likely” be granted.

Before the planned Feb. 15 meeting, Patel and 45 supporters marched to City Hall, decrying the city’s potential use of its redevelopment authority to force Patel to move or close the 55-room hotel. Supporters included representatives of several advocacy groups opposed to the government use of eminent domain to take over private property.

The hotel and much of the surrounding area is in a redevelopment zone the city established nearly 40 years ago, giving it the power to condemn property to remove blight and stimulate economic activity.

Patel bought the hotel in 2002.

The city used its eminent domain power to acquire nearby properties and pave the way for the Americana but have instead been pushing Caruso and Patel to reach a negotiated agreement for the mall’s expansion plans.

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