When community activists applied to designate Studio City’s famous Sportsmen’s Lodge a historic cultural monument, which would have made future development of the site nearly impossible, Afriat Consulting was called in. Working with the Councilmember of the district and community leaders, ACG negotiated a compromise that resulted in an official city motion being adopted that deemed the venue not historic, thus paving the way for future development.
When long-time ACG client Richard Weintraub later bought the Sportsmen’s Lodge, he sought out the firm’s assistance. A false news story ran in the L.A. Daily News, accusing Weintraub of planning to demolish the hotel, ACG was called in to rewrite a narrative for the property.
Years later, when Weintraub sought to replace the aging Events Center portion of the property with a modest offering of boutique retail and restaurants, community activists rallied to defeat the project. A well-financed New York developer who owned property for which Weintraub had purchased a long-term lease opposed the improvements to the site and hired legal counsel and lobbyists in an attempt to torpedo the project. Combining a successful community outreach campaign with intensive work with the City Planning Department and Council Office, the project was approved despite significant opposition. When the project approvals were appealed by opponents to the City’s Area Planning Commission and then to the City Council, ACG swung into action again, resulting in unanimous approvals from both bodies despite an organized and well-funded opposition effort.