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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Bankruptcy Filing by Hotel Blocks Bid for High School

August 09, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The owners of the former Ambassador Hotel on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court, blocking plans of the Los Angeles Unified School District to foreclose on the mid-Wilshire property.

The district wants to build a high school on the site. The Wilshire Center Marketplace wants to develop a shopping center and theater complex.

The dispute goes back to the early 1990s when the district tried to condemn the property and paid a $49-million deposit toward its purchase. In 1994 the district decided not to build a school and sought to get the money back. When Wilshire Center Marketplace was unable to return the money, the district foreclosed and recently revived plans to build a high school.

Wilshire Center Marketplace is asking the court for more time to pay the district.

Board member Caprice Young said district lawyers expected the bankruptcy filing and do not expect it to change the outcome.

"In a year the conclusion will be that we will own the property and begin to build a school," Young said.

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