City of Malibu Devises Elaborate Funding Plan to Purchase Three Choice Properties From Estate of Late Billionaire Jerry Perenchio


Three prime parcels of land in Malibu would be purchased by the city under the terms of a to-be-finalized agreement with the estate of the late business and media mogul Jerry Perenchio.

At its meeting this past week, the Malibu City Council greenlighted moving forward with final negotiations, and arranging  approximately $42 million in funding,  to acquire the undeveloped land. 

Two of the parcels, totaling 10.8 acres, are near the Malibu civic center, just inland of the famed Malibu Colony and Pacific Coast Highway. One of them is known as the site of the annual chili cookoff.  The third parcel, at the city's west end in the Point Dume area, is the largest, occupying 18 areas east of Heathercliff Road on the Coast Highway. It's known as the "Christmas tree lot."

As of yet, there are no specific plans for the properties.  City officials spoke of preserving open space, providing "amenities," and using a portion for parking.

"Monumental" was the word used by Mayor Rick Mullen to describe the opportunity.  "Undeveloped land anywhere in Malibu is rare and its value cannot be quantified in dollars alone."

During his lifetime, Perenchio amassed his two billion dollar-plus fortune through business ventures, mostly in entertainment, sports and broadcasting. He promoted the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobbie Riggs that was the subject of the recent film.  Perenchio owned the Spanish-language television network Univision until 2007.  He also took charge of a land development firm, Malibu Bay Company.

It ultimately took ownership of more land in Malibu than any other property owner.

Following Perenchio's death in May of last year, the trustees of his estate decided to liquidate eight properties--four residential and four commercial, according to Christi Hogan, Malibu City attorney. The original intent was to find one buyer for all.  However that would have been far more expensive than even the city of Malibu could handle.

The three properties to be purchased, as Hogan explained it, are "the most the city could afford, and the least the trustees were willing to peel off."

Under the plan presented to the council, the city would pay for the properies with a portfolio of multiple sources, according to City Manager Reva Feldman. She said the city could draw on $12 million would come from its general fund reserve.  The city would also take $1 million from a reserve fund for Bluffs Park. $7.3 million would come from city and Los Angeles County allocations of dollars from transportation ballot measures R and M. Finally, The largest portion, $22 million, would be borrowed through a bond issue, the specifics to be brought to council for approval at a later meeting.

Including parking when the sites are developed is what qualifies them for the measure R and M money, Feldman explained.

At least week's council meeting, Mayor Mullen made a point crediting Feldman and Hogan for their role in bringing the agreement to fruition, and developing the plan to pay for it.

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