Client, Golden Gateway Center, Found Not Liable for Fraud Nor Breach of Contract

Buchalter lawyers Glenn Zwang and James Wright successfully defended our client, Golden Gateway Center, in a one month jury trial arising out of a failed real estate development project and that was the subject of the “No Wall on the Waterfront” referendum in San Francisco.  The developer of the failed 8 Washington project sued Golden Gateway Center, the owner of the proposed development property, for fraud and breach of contract. The developer, called San Francisco Waterfront Partners II, LLC, was owned and funded by CalSTRS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which spent over $50 million and ten years trying to develop the property. Golden Gateway Center gave SF Waterfront Partners the option to purchase the property if it could obtain the necessary approvals.

SF Waterfront Partners was able to obtain approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  Shortly thereafter, however, community groups began gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would nullify the Board’s action. The measure qualified for the ballot and became Proposition C on the November 2013 ballot.  On November 5, 2013, the voters overwhelmingly rejected the project.

SF Waterfront Partners sued Golden Gateway Center claiming fraud and breach of contract, and demanded Gateway refund all option payments and pay CalSTRS all of its project development expenses. Mike DiRé, Director of Real Estate Investments for CalSTRS and manager of their real estate investment portfolio, testified on behalf of SF Waterfront Partners. Former Supervisor and City Attorney, Louise Renne, who led the political movement against the project also testified. On February 7, the jury found that Gateway was innocent of all fraud charges. The next day, the judge threw out all of SF Waterfront Partners’ breach of contract claims.

Buchalter’s trial team was led by Shareholders Glenn P. Zwang and James B. Wright, Senior Counsel Peter Bales and Randall L. Manvitz, and Associates Alexandra P. Grayner and Zachary B. Young.