West Hollywood City Council members avoided a longtime controversy from blowing up in their faces on Tuesday night, approving a development agreement that would prevent the historic El Mirador building from being torn down.

Without the agreement, El Mirador owner Jerome Nash threatened to demolish the iconic apartment building on Sweetzer and Fountain avenues.

Through the deal, Nash can move forward with a multi-million-dollar renovation, with options to keep El Mirador as an apartment building or turn it into a condominium complex or urban inn.

West Hollywood City Council members John Duran, Jeff Prang, and John D'Amico approved the development agreement — Abbe Land and John Heilman opposed it.

The disagreement among the politicians, the West Hollywood Patch reports, revolves around setting an undesirable precedent in which others owners of old West Hollywood apartment buildings may try to force the city's hand into turning their rental properties into condos or urban inns.

West Hollywood City Attorney Mike Jenkins promised the council members that would not be the case.

For now, the El Mirador deal ends a years-long clash between West Hollywood city officials and Nash.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly