Bungling Boutique Boondoggle Blunders

Some folks have been asking about the fate of the idiotic “boutique” hotel project that had morphed into a hideously overbuilt hotel/apartment hippogriff that is twice the allowable density permitted per the City’s own Transportation Center Specific Plan. Of course the project was never contemplated at all in the Specific Plan, so who cares, right? Fullerton being Fullerton.

In an act of utter incompetence the City actually rushed the approval to transfer of title to the land, before the deal had received final approval. Then they gave it away the land for pennies on the dollar.

Friends may recall our last October post in which we discovered that the new “developer,” one Johnny Lu of TA Westpark LLC, was way upside down on loans he had somehow leveraged on apartment blocks in Irvine and was in default.

You may also recall that Lu started shifting the property to different corporations, the first of which, a Delaware corporation, was non-existent. And just for grins, Mr. Lu changed the property description, too, when he later deeded it back to his California Corporation.

Anyhow, it looks like Johnny has finally created and recorded the appropriately named Delaware corporation in March – only two years too late, but, hey, not bad for Fullerton, right?

There has been nothing but radio silence from City Hall as to the status of Mr. Lu and whether he has met any of the stipulated deadlines in the Development and Disposition Agreement, but as we have learned in the case of the Florentine/Marovich sidewalk heist, contractual obligations mean nothing when the “I Can’t Believe It’s a Law Firm” of Jones & Mayer is your City Attorney. Recently, cluelessly verbose Shana Charles indicated that the project was still alive and well. She didn’t mention Mr. Lu’s financial embarrassment, but then nobody else has, either.

And now for some sadly interesting news. It turns out the original Founding Father of the boutique hotel concept, Craig Hostert of West Park Development – the guy who sold the idea to Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jan Flory, Jesus Quirk Silva, Ahmad Zahra, Bruce Whitaker, et. al. – died in late May.


Poor guy. He went to his Reward after getting pushed out of his own scheme, and sticking us with the appalling, metastasized mess the concept has predictably morphed into; showing that once again, no bad idea goes unappreciated in downtown Fullerton. Being Fullerton, of course.

12 Replies to “Bungling Boutique Boondoggle Blunders”

  1. Their business model may involve looting and bankrupting separate corporations, then moving on.

  2. “While the firm has scored entitlements for a number of its projects, TA Partners has finished building very little.”


  3. I wouldn’t worry. That giant of “business development” Ahmad Zahra is all over this. Probably hoping to live in the boutique hotel when it fails and is converted into a low-income SRO.

  4. There’s no way these chimps could get a construction loan. But that’s not their plan. It’s a flip.

  5. The City gave away land worth tens of millions for 1.4 million, and handed it over to a non-existent corporation.

    Isn’t that fraud on the part of Johnny and Larry? And honest services fraud on the part of Zahra, Whitaker and Charles?

  6. These goofballs are going to flip the entitlements and property to a real builder. That is of course if any real hotelier will even touch this dumb property.

  7. Since the hotel will never get built, I suggest another Redevelopment scheme that went viral in the 80’s; a movie theater! People can take the train to downtown and after the movie they can enjoy the fights and barf.

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