El Pasadero latest West Hollywood historic apt. being emptied

July 29, 2013

A landmark Spanish Colonial Revival apartment building in West Hollywood’s Harper Historic District, El Pasadero, is the latest WeHo historic building to be emptied by its owner; landlord Schaefer Funds LLC in May “Ellised” the building, or gave all the tenants the mandated 120 day notice of eviction, in order to remove it from the rental market.

The 15-unit building, at 1302 Harper Ave. at Fountain, was taken over in a default action in February, 2012 against the previous owner, Sandra Carradine, an actress who formerly was married to Keith Carradine. Since then it has been managed by Schaeffer.

Residents of notified By Schaeffer on May 7 that they would have to leave according to Elizabeth Savage, West Hollywood’s rent stabilization manager. Of the 15 units, 13 were occupied she said, and those 13 had 15 tenants.

El Pasadero's front corner.

A previous report by WEHOville erroneously claimed that the evictions were “being carried out by Jerome Nash, the controversial owner of El Mirador, another landmark apartment building at the corner of Sweetzer and Fountain that has been empty since 2010. Nash evicted residents of that 32-unit building after fights with the City of West Hollywood over his proposals to renovate the building and convert it to condominiums or a hotel.”

Only the owner of the building can “Ellis” it, Mr. Nash acts merely as a managing agent for Schaffer Funds LLC. Additionally, the issue that set up El Mirador’s Ellising were windows, and the controversy mentioned by WEHOville over hotel or condos only occurred after the Ellising.

The act bars apartment owners from emptying their buildings and re-renting them for five years. They may evict the tenants to go condo or convert the building to another use, or allow the period to pass and bring the units back onto the rental market.

WEHOville report states, again incorrectly according to Mr. Nash, that he “recently was hired to manage and renovate El Pasadero by Schaefer Funds, owner of the building, which was built in 1931.”

According to Mr. Nash, he approached Schaeffer Funds because of his interest in historic buildings; they accepted his proposal to act as managing agent.

“As near as I can recall I started in May of last year,” he told WeHo News. “The first thing we did was walk through the building to determine what needed to be fixed and began to do it.

undefined

El Pasadero's courtyard.

The atmosphere in the building, however, was already tainted by a couple of tenants who had their share of trouble with Ms. Carradine’s alleged mismanagement and had heard of Mr. Nash’s reputation at other apartment buildings, including West Hollywood’s El Mirador.

In 2010, Mr. Nash, fed up with two arms of the city unable to come to terms with one another and stymying his efforts to retrofit El Mirador with new windows, evicted the tenants of the building with no plans at all other than to rid himself of the trouble of renting.

El Pasadero's staircases are all tiled.

At the time, he faced having to pay rent reductions to the tenants for the leaking windows, but the city should not allow him to fix or replace them because the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Department could not agree on how to approach the situation.

Mr. Nash has a reputation for mercurial and emotional behavior dating back to 1985 when he won a CA Supreme Court suit that later formed the fundamentals for the Ellis Act. West Hollywood, as a bastion of rent control, has eyed with great suspicion every move Jerome Nash makes because of the mutual Yin/Yang outlook on tenant protections.

This time, though, Mr. Nash claims he has been tagged unfairly as Ellising these tenants. “Only a property owner can Ellis a building,” he told WeHo News, “and I only manage the property.”

He did acknowledge that his past gave the tenants’ with perpetual axes to grind gave way to more fireworks. “Yes, there were problems, including requests from tenants to Schaeffer that I be fired [and worse],” he said.

While his counsel to Schaeffer Funds was to Ellis the building to quiet the problematic tenants, they held decision-making power.  He could also not say what plans the company had for the structure, but because the firm is a lender, expect them to sell it.

Schaeffer Funds LLC did not respond to a request for comment.

El Pasadero was, built in 1931 and designed by Jason and Irene Reese in the Spanish Revival tradition. The building is part of the city’s Harper Avenue National Register District, which contains a concentration of landmark 1920s Spanish Revival and Art Deco apartment buildings.