Real Estate

Erewhon Sues LA Over 520-Unit Complex to Protect Sportsmen’s Lodge

Erewhon sues Los Angeles to block the demolition of historic Sportsmen’s Lodge for a 520-unit apartment project.

By Tal Alexander

5/15, 12:14 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • Erewhon challenges LA's approval of a 520-unit apartment complex to preserve historic Sportsmen’s Lodge, citing environmental concerns.
  • The lawsuit claims the city bypassed a thorough Environmental Impact Report, violating California Environmental Quality Act.
  • The dispute follows a history of legal battles between Erewhon and Midwood, including issues over rent and parking at the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge.

Battle Over Historic Sportsmen's Lodge

In a dramatic turn of events that pits preservation against development, Erewhon, the upscale supermarket chain, has launched an environmental challenge against the city of Los Angeles. This legal move aims to halt Midwood Investment & Development's plans to demolish the historic Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City to make way for a 520-unit apartment complex. This clash underscores a broader debate on urban development, historical preservation, and environmental responsibility in one of Los Angeles' most cherished neighborhoods.

The Heart of the Controversy

At the core of this dispute is the proposed demolition of the Sportsmen’s Lodge, a site with deep historical roots in Studio City, to construct a 97-foot-tall residential building. Erewhon, an anchor tenant at Midwood’s Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge, has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court, accusing the city of bypassing a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report in favor of a less thorough assessment. This move, Erewhon argues, violates the California Environmental Quality Act among other local and state laws, raising significant concerns about the environmental and cultural impact of the proposed development.

A Tug-of-War Between Development and Preservation

The proposed apartment complex represents a significant shift in Studio City's landscape, promising new housing in a region earmarked for development. This comes at a time when Los Angeles faces a critical housing shortage, making the project appealing to proponents of urban development. However, opponents, including Erewhon, the Studio City Residents Association, and a labor union representing hotel workers, argue for the preservation of the Sportsmen’s Lodge, a site of historical and cultural significance. This tug-of-war reflects a broader dilemma cities face in balancing the need for development with the imperative to preserve their historical and environmental heritage.

Erewhon's Legal Standoff with Midwood

This legal battle is not the first confrontation between Erewhon and Midwood. The luxury market and the landlord previously reached a partial court settlement after Midwood accused Erewhon of failing to pay rent and overusing the parking lot at the retail center. Erewhon countered with allegations of omitted facts during lease negotiations and improper rent increases. This history of disputes adds a layer of complexity to the current standoff, highlighting the intricate relationship between tenants and landlords in high-stakes real estate developments.

Management Quotes

  • Toni Antoci, CEO of Erewhon:

    "Erewhon to the city of Los Angeles: stop the wrecking ball at the historic Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City."