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Partner Files Suit Against Park Del Amo Developers

July 06, 1986|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

TORRANCE — A developer whose plans for a 416-unit condominium complex at the Park Del Amo project were denied by the City Council on June 27 has filed suit against his would-be partners in the massive residential and commercial project, alleging fraud and deceit.

Lincoln Property Co., which agreed in December to buy part of the project site to build the condominium complex, claims in the suit filed June 30 in Torrance Superior Court that Torrance Investment Co. and Park Del Amo Builders Inc. knew that pending litigation between the city and the developers over ownership of the Madrona Marsh would affect Lincoln's ability to get city approval for its plans.

Lincoln also alleges that despite a 1983 agreement between Torrance Investment and the city that all residential units at Park Del Amo would be sold, developers agreed to sell the land to Lincoln knowing that Lincoln intended to retain ownership of the condominiums and rent them out.

Lincoln is seeking $110 million in actual and punitive damages, and asking the court to force Torrance Investment to give the city title to the nearly 43-acre marsh, as called for in the 1983 agreement between the developers and the city. Developers had agreed to dedicate a portion of the marsh, one of the last stopping grounds in the South Bay for migratory birds, in exchange for being allowed to build 1,485 residential units and 850,000 square feet of commercial space.

Since then, the city and the developers have been locked in a dispute over the ultimate ownership of the marsh. A suit to resolve that issue is still pending in Torrance Superior Court.

Jerry Rogers, a spokesman for Torrance Investment, said the company had not been served with the suit, and would not comment on it until it was reviewed by its lawyers.

The City Council held a seven-hour meeting on June 27 in an effort to get decisions by June 30 on four projects that would have completed the residential portion of Park Del Amo. Developers had loan commitments that expired on that date.

But the council denied Lincoln's plans and a proposal for a 132-unit apartment complex for the elderly by Watt Homes Inc., a sister company of Park Del Amo Builders. Both are owned by developer Ray Watt.

The council approved Watt's plans for a 422-unit condominium complex and for 146 detached town houses, but the council said it would not issue building permits for those projects until the marsh dispute is resolved.

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