Thursday, February 23, 2012
Here's a good story to show students the importance of careful and diligent title searching. For years a huge, boarded-up building has sat vacant near the Staples Center in downtown L.A. As the rest of the neighborhood gentrified, the shell at 1130 S. Hope St. remianed unused and unloved. Why didn't developers snatch up this parcel?
"The problem was figuring out who owned it," said Homer Williams, one of the developers of the 19-story Luma residential high-rise next door.
City officials later hoped to raze the building at 1130 S. Hope St. to make a public park, but also had difficulty figuring out who held its title as competing parties claimed control. The picture was complicated by more than a dozen liens from contractors, developers, lawyers and others who did work involving the building.
Enter Kevin Burke, a retired life insurance salesman from Manhattan Beach who managed to work through the title disputes and negotiate a complex $2.1-million transaction last year that got him the keys.