Media mogul David Geffen appears to be getting into Malibu's hospitality industry.
Geffen has shelled out about $29 million to purchase the 47-room Malibu Beach Inn, according to sources close to the deal. The hotel, which fronts a stretch of beach near the Malibu Municipal Pier at 22878 Pacific Coast Highway, sold for $617,000 a room.
The hotel's owners, Vicky and Marty Cooper, were out of the country last week and unreachable for comment. Geffen's attorney, Steven A. Amerikaner, said he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter and Geffen spokesman Andy Spahn declined comment.
Sources said Geffen will be renovating the 16-year-old property to remake it into a high-end hotel. Part of that may require reducing the number of rooms, which are considered by some in the industry to be small.
Richard Weintraub, a major investor in the Adamson Hotel project, a new hotel proposed near Pepperdine University, said he was excited to hear of Geffen's purchase.
"David Geffen has extraordinary taste," Weintraub said. "If he does it anything like the way he lives, it will be a welcome addition to the community. Nobody is more meticulous than he is."
The Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor lists a recording date of October 30, 1992 and a combined tax value of about $3.5 million.
Alan Reay, president of Costa Mesa-based Atlas Hospitality Group, said the hotel was worth well above its assessed value. Though Reay had no involvement in the Geffen deal, he had recently represented buyers interested in purchasing the property for close to $20 million.
"In terms of location, it's right on the beach in an irreplaceable location," Reay said. "Malibu is one of the toughest cities in California to develop in. Not only do you have major issues with local residents, but there are also issues with water and septic systems."
After a protracted and highly publicized legal battle with state and nonprofit groups, Geffen agreed last month to allow public beach access through his Malibu home. Under terms of the agreement, Geffen will pay the California Coastal Commission and State Coastal Conservancy $300,000 in legal costs and will allow public access from Pacific Coast Highway.
*This story is available in the May 16 edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal.
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