Sunset Stripmall Owner Sued by Tenants Over Parking Fees

Suncrest lawsuit

Suncrest lawsuit

A group of tenants at Suncrest Plaza on the edge of West Hollywood are suing the owners of the 45,000-square-foot property claiming new parking fees established by the landlord are part of a plan to put them out of business and make room for a residential or mixed-use project.

Townscape Partners bought the strip mall, at 8128-8178 W. Sunset Blvd. just below Chateau Marmont, last year and, last month, started charging customers $3 per 15 minutes for parking.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit (Subway, El Pollo Loco, a dry cleaners and spa) say they have not had the option of offering validation for parking, and have lost 50 percent of their business as a result of the fees. A McDonalds and Chase Bank are the only two businesses currently offering validation for 30 free minutes.

“The landlord, through general partner Townscape Partners, acquired Suncrest Plaza with the express intent of destroying Plaintiffs’ businesses, driving them to financial ruin, and forcing them to surrender their leases early so Townscape Partners can ‘reposition’ the property by tearing it down, or otherwise substantially redeveloping it, into a residential or mixed use development with significantly higher profit potential,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs operate small businesses with customers who spend relatively modest amounts of money each time they go to the stores (For example, an average guest spends $7 at Subway, according to the lawsuit).

The parking fees also exceed market rates at nearby commercial areas, according to the suit. At 8000 Sunset, the shopping complex across the street from Suncrest, the rate is $1.50 per 15 minutes, with a $24 daily maximum and validation is offered at most of the stores.

The lawsuit also alleges that Townscape Partners has instructed Quality Parking, the operator of the new parking system, to discourage customers from going to, among others, Subway and El Pollo Loco because they do not offer validation.

Rosa Pinuelas, the licensee of El Pollo Loco, is also seeking $1,100,000 claiming that her landlord refused to let her transfer her lease to a third party who offered to buy her fast food franchise.

Townscape Partners called the allegations “baseless and without merit” and said it has no contractual relationship with any of the four plaintiffs.

“Charging for parking is standard practice in Los Angeles, and most certainly in high demand areas like the Sunset Strip,” said the landlord, referred to as “AG-SCH 8150 Sunset.” “The plain language of each lease allows the landlord to charge for parking within the shopping center at rates that it determines are appropriate.”

Townscape Partners has also run into trouble with its other West Hollywood property at 8899 Beverly Blvd., where it seeks to expand a commercial building and add townhomes and affordable-housing units nearby.

Principals of Suncrest landlord “AG-SCH 8150 Sunset” are Adam Schwartz and Michael Gordon, who are also principals in Angelo Gordon. Angelo Gordon is Townscape’s partner in Beverly Boulevard Associates, the owner and developer of the 8899 Beverly Blvd. project.

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kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago

Lynn Russell, your entire comment was based on assumptions, therefore, I am done here. The new owner ruined the shopping center, end of story.

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

Kab1200 I made no assumptions, you merely switched your arguments.

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

You switched your argument. I made no assumptions.

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

@kab1200 Too bad you consider reasonableness to be silly. It works, but only if one puts honest effort into it. There are countless examples. You never know where the solution may come from.

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Russell

Lynn Russell, you making a lot of assumptions about the situation. Sometimes, in real life, things can be put on you, that you cannot control or “be reasonable” about. You are assuming they went right to the lawsuit, but you have nothing to base that opinion on, and that is what I have an issue with.

Profes Shivers
8 years ago

Time to head out of WEHO. Three years and I’m DONE! San Fran?

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

Appears as though the tenants may have skipped over the “let’s negotiate a reasonable guest validation and/or fee and gone right into the lawsuit lane which is an expensive way to negotiate. The El Pollo Loco lady may be restricted by her lease eliminating third party sale, who knows. Perhaps the new owner will be inspired by the landmark architecture in the immediate area and come up with a befitting plan for this present jumble. The residents south of Sunset would appreciate that as well as homeowners to the north behind the Marmont. On Havenhurst south of the Andalusia is… Read more »

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Russell

Lynn Russell, you are a dreamer. They will just build another behemoth mixed use project. I doubt the tenants where given a choice as it pertains to the parking, so I think your comment was silly. And who cares what the people who live behind the Marmont want.

kab1200
kab1200
8 years ago

The whole thing is absurd, Sheila Lighfoot, take a break, sheesh! The tenants already had leases when the center was sold to the new owner, so they cannot control that. It is a sham, and they destroyed a busy little shopping center. I avoid it just because of the parking now, even though I can validate at Chase. I am so sick of these scenarios. All parking should be free when one is shopping or doing business, period!

Snarkygal
Snarkygal
8 years ago

Yes, El Pollo Loco delivers if you have a minimum order of something like $15. That’s a lot of chicken for a single person.

Philippe Mora
Philippe Mora
8 years ago

The parking rates imposed by the new owners are entirely inappropriate by any reasonable standard and betray another agenda. Gosh, what a surprise!

Jimmy Palmieri
8 years ago

EL POLLO LOCO DELIVERS!

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

Generally a bank will give one additional validation especially to accommodate an elderly customer if asked.

Freedom for property owners
Freedom for property owners
8 years ago

The landlord made a huge gamble/investment in the property. It is their property. They own it, and control. The businesses are all renters, and they knew that when they signed their leases. The landlord has zero obligation to be concerned with any of the tenants’ businesses, cause they are not owners. They treat the landlord like they think they are running a charity. They should increase the parking to $100 per hour if they wish. Businesses will get the message that if they want control, they have to invest more, and BUY the land where their business is. They didn’t… Read more »

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