Associated Press is confirming a story we foreshadowed Monday: The nonprofit Trust for Public Land has secured an option to buy 138 acres of undeveloped land west of the Hollywood Sign for about $12 million.

Trust president Will Rogers said the real estate meltdown has worked in its favor: The Chicago company that owns the parcel had put the land on the market two years ago for $22 million, but apparently didn't get any viable offers. The group hopes to raise the money — it states it has half in hand — and transfer the land to the city of Los Angeles so it can be incorporated into Griffith Park.

“The real estate meltdown has brought a number of properties that should never have been developed back onto the market at very favorable prices,” Rogers told AP.

In 2006 there was real fear that the ridge-top land, part of what's known as Cahuenga Peak, would be developed into five luxury estates with panoramic views of the L.A. basin. If the Trust for Public Land can raise another $6 million by April 14, that would likely be prevented in perpetuity.

On Thursday the Trust kicks off its fundraising campaign with an event at the W Hotel in Hollywood as well as with a remix of the Hollywood sign. It will say, “Save the Peak.”

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