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Judge tentatively rejects bid
to turn L.A.'s Ambassador hotel into school

Associated Press, 28 Nov 2001


LOS ANGELES (AP) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge tentatively rejected the Los Angeles Unified School District's bid to buy the old Ambassador Hotel site and adjacent property for a new school.

Instead, Judge Sam Bufford approved a higher bid from Beverly Hills developer Alan Casden for the hotel where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 and Hollywood's Academy Awards were once handed out. His ruling Tuesday gave Casden Properties 24 hours to negotiate a final agreement with the current owners.

School officials, who just last month approved spending $76.5 million to acquire the hotel and adjacent property, complained that a new school is desperately needed in the heavily populated area west of downtown. Casden has offered $115 million for the 23.5-acre site.

"The neighborhood is home to 4,000 kids, who, every day, have to board buses and ride for more than an hour to various schools because there isn't one for them to go to in their area," said Board of Education President Caprice Young.

Not everyone has favored plans for a school in place of the long-closed hotel, whose owner declared bankruptcy last year.

Business groups have lobbied for a retail center at the site and historical preservationists want the 80-year-old hotel, once among the nation's plushest, returned to its former glory.

© 2001 Associated Press
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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