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Little Tokyo Landmarks About to Change Hands?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, October 29, 2010, at 04:57PM
Kyoto Grand / Weller Court Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Weller Court and the Kyoto Grand could soon be changing hands if a court approves a $44-million agreement.

A pair of Little Tokyo landmarks currently navigating the bankruptcy process could be about to change hands.

The bank that holds the loans on the Kyoto Grand hotel and Weller Court shopping complex has negotiated a $44-million sale of the two structures to the investment arm of a Torrance furniture firm, but it must still get the court's approval before any transaction could take place.

That price is $10 million less than what current owner Little Tokyo Partners paid for them in August of 2007, but more than twice what it says they are worth today.

On October 18, potential buyer Seville Gateway Investments filed its purchase agreement with the court, depositing $5 million in an escrow account under terms negotiated with lender Citizens-First Bank & Trust. The firm's manager is Jackson Yang, CEO and founder of Seville Classics, a company that designs and sells storage furniture.

Other documents filed in the case shed light on how the properties ended up in bankruptcy. Appraisals by CB Richard Ellis tell of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance. The hotel's 2009 occupancy and average room rate of 51.5% and $104.82 were well below the averages for Downtown, which for the year were 61.8% and $133.7. The hotel also faces a lawsuit over ADA accessibility.

The next hearing in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for November 24.

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