The federal government agreed this week to sell a sliver of property at the Veterans Administration complex in Westwood to a private developer for $4.5 million.
Mary Filippini, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, said that William A. Schainker raised his offer from $4.2 million during negotiations that began after Schainker made the highest bid at a March 27 auction. In such auctions the government has the right to ask for a higher price.
The 2.13-acre property, once occupied by the "Flyaway" airport bus terminal, is at 1401 Sepulveda Blvd., just south of Wilshire Boulevard. It is separated from the rest of the VA land by the San Diego Freeway.
Schainker confirmed the $4.5-million deal Wednesday but declined to comment on his plans for the triangle-shaped property until the sale goes through. The land was most recently used by the Veterans Administration for records storage.
Filippini said that Schainker, who made a $250,000 deposit at the time of the auction, has 90 days to complete payment.
Schainker is senior vice president of the Kaufman & Broad Development Group, a real estate firm. Filippini said she had no indication that Kaufman & Broad, one of the country's largest land companies and developers, was involved in the deal.
County officials, who will assume jurisdiction over the property once it goes into private hands, said they have not been in contact with Schainker since March, when he said he did not know what he planned to do with it. The parcel is not part of the city of Los Angeles.
Supervisor Ed Edelman has said that he will insist that the property, near some of the most congested intersections on the Westside, be used for public or semi-public purposes such as a senior citizens' home.
But other developers said that only a more lucrative use, such as apartments or offices, would make it a profitable investment at that price. The government originally asked $7.5 million for the property.
The transaction could presage a much larger sale of land that the Veterans Administration has declared excess, but key congressmen have vowed to block the disposition of any more acreage at the VA site.
Additionally, attorneys for the heirs of two pioneer families who donated the land to the federal government nearly 100 years ago have given notice that they will seek to reclaim the property if it falls into private hands.
Their claims could block or delay development of the Flyaway property, but auctioneer John Conolly said in March that the government believes it has the right to sell the land.
He said the government would refund the purchase price if a lawsuit determined otherwise.