Beverly Hills City Council Approves The Wanda Group's Billion-Dollar Development Project

The Hollywood Reporter

The Beverly Hills City Council gave its final stamp of approval to Dalian Wanda Group's plan to build a $1.2 billion mixed hotel and condominium project along Santa Monica Boulevard on the lot adjacent to the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The vote by the council was 4-1.

Next up will be breaking ground on construction for two towers - one 13 stories, the other 15 stories - on the site where the Robinsons-May department store once stood, just across Merv Griffin Way.

"I would like to thank all the city leaders and resident who supported one Beverly hills, and helped shape what will be an iconic property at the western gateway to Beverly hills," said Rohan a'Beckett, deputy GM of Wanda Beverly Hills Properties, in a statement. "Our entire team is extremely excited to finally start construction on this long-delayed project and provide new financial public benefit that will contribute to the quality of life for the entire community."

Approval of the project concludes what has been a bitter fight between the Wanda Group, owned by Wang Jianlin, the world's 19th-richest person, and Beny Alagem, the owner of the Beverly Hilton. Over the past two years Beverly Hills has been the setting for an epic battle between Alagem and the Wanda Group over their dueling development projects. The fight fostered three separate lawsuits several complaints to the Federal Election Commission.

Read more: Wanda's Real Estate Chief Fights Back in Beverly Hills Spat: Opponents Using "Deplorable Tactics" (Exclusive)

Alagem, who also is building the Waldorf Astoria next door, failed in his effort to convince Beverly Hills voters to allow him to combine two previously approved towers - measuring eight and 18 stories - into a single 26-story tower directly adjacent to the Hilton. Alagem said that he will move forward with his original plan to build both towers. The ballot measure that was voted down last month by voters was one of the most expensive local ballot measure campaigns ever.  

But it appears the bad blood hasn't entirely cooled.

A spokesperson for Alagem, Marie Garvey, suggested to The Hollywood Reporter that Alagem may challenge the city's approval of Wanda's plan. "We continue to have serious concerns about this severely flawed access plan on Santa Monica Blvd and the location of the loading dock across from the entrance of the Beverly Hilton. Now that the project is approved we will continue to weigh our options," said Garvey.