The LA Times reports today that the lawsuit architecture school SCI-Arc filed claiming that it had a right to buy their campus failed in court yesterday. The verdict, unfortunately, was no surprise to those who were familiar with the merits of the case.
But now that the lawsuit is over, more serious negotiations can now continue to craft a compromise that will allow developer Richard Meruelo to create an exciting urban community on the two vacant parcels (as opposed to the two Miami Beach high rise clones originally planned) - as well as allowing SCI-Arc room to expand, and giving SCI-Arc time to eventually purchase the third parcel with its primary building.
And despite what some press reports would have one believe, SCI-Arc's tenure on the site was never threated. They hold a long term lease on their present campus and Richard Meruelo has always stated his firm committment to their remaining on the site. All the lawsuit accomplished, was to make some very rich lawyers... even richer.
A second option, though, might be for the city to swap its land at First and Alameda not being used for the Public Safety Complex - and which is located on a busy street next to a light rail line - for the SCI-Arc property. This would allow Meruelo to build his relatively dense market rate housing in a more appropriate location. It would also give the city the opportunity to protect SCI-Arc, and to then find a developer who could build much needed artist-specific housing within the Arts District along with market rate housing and retail.