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Developer sues Los Angeles County over rack storage facility

A drystack facility in Marina del Rey, Calif., sits idle while the lawsuit runs its course.

A drystack facility in Marina del Rey, Calif., sits idle while the lawsuit runs its course.

Boat Central, a rack storage facility for recreational boats in Marina del Rey, Calif., is at the center of a multi-million dollar lawsuit between the developer and Los Angeles County. MDR Boat Central L.P., is suing the county for allegedly violating the terms of an agreement reached between the two, just as the project was supposed to break ground, according to ArgonautNews.com.

Attorney Benjamin Reznik alleged that Boat Central had obtained the necessary approvals from Regional Planning officials and the California Coastal Commission before the county reportedly terminated negotiations in mid-2017.

“They owe us money. My client spent over $4 million on entitlements and approvals,” Reznik told The Argonaut. “We had a lease for 60 years, so [our losses] could be in the tens of millions of dollars.”

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors had approved the project before the 2016 election of supervisor Janice Hahn to replace termed-out Don Knabe in the district that includes Marina del Rey.

Reznik said his client met with Hahn’s staff about the storage facility in 2017. “According to the information that we were given, supervisor Hahn decided she did not like the project. The agreement was terminated, and our client was left holding the bag,” Reznik said.

Hahn couldn’t be reached for comment, and the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors declined comment.

Attorneys for the county filed a motion to dismiss Boat Central’s lawsuit, with a Los Angeles Superior County judge expected to make a ruling early this year.

Boat Central is a 47,100-square-foot rack storage facility that drew opposition from local boat owners and the Marina del Rey Lessees Association. Critics reportedly took issue with the design and questioned its economic viability when comparing rates for existing rack storage and in-water facilities.

The building would stand 70 feet high with a portion extending over the water and would use a 5-ton crane and launch/retrieval elevators to store 345 boats on six levels, with 30 dedicated spots for mast-up storage for sailboats. There would also be 134 parking spots and a 1,560-square-foot public promenade along the waterfront.

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