Biggest Land Deal in Malibu History: Crummer Property Sells for $50 Million

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Parcel known as the "Crummer Property"

Malibu real estate records continue to be smashed in 2017. Just two months ago, David Geffen sold his Carbon Beach compound for $85 million, breaking city records for a residential property. Now, in a record-breaking local land deal, the 24-acre former Crummer property located at 24108 Pacific Coast Highway (adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park) sold for $50 million on June 29. The bluff top property with ocean and mountain views will be the site of a guard-gated community with five new homes. 

The land was owned by joint venture Oaktree Capital and Big Rock Partners, represented by Hilton & Hyland Realtors. The property was put on the market “late summer 2016,” according to former development partner Robert Gold. 

“We thought it was a good time in the market to sell,” Gold said in a phone interview. It was purchased by Scott Gillen, represented by Malibu Realtor Sandro Dazzan with Coldwell Banker.

Gillan said in a phone interview that he’d been eyeing this property for five or six years and had known the owners “for quite some time.” The day after they put it on the market, he decided to go for it. “It’s a phenomenal bluff,” he said 

Gillen’s company “Unvarnished” has built about 23 houses over the past 13 years. 

“The company has grown and evolved,” he described. “I found it better to deliver a house turn-key starting about five houses ago. We’re getting very, very specific now with furniture, larger size homes, and much higher detail and grade.”

Gillen is wasting no time and has already broken ground on the former Crummer property in terms of cleaning it up, putting in landscaping and beautifying the entrance. 

As the lead designer, Gillen is working with architect Richard Landry on the five “post-modern” or “mid-century modern” homes. 

“They’ll be post and beam with a lot of glass and high ceilings,” he said. “There will be different types of woods used, and the homes will be highly detailed and yet simplistic at the same time.” 

Coldwell Banker and The Real Deal reported that each one-story house will have approximately 9,500 to 11,500 square feet, sit on a parcel of 2.5 to 5.8 acres and sell for $40 to $60 million each. The five homes will be built simultaneously over the next two-and-a-half years, and be completed in 2020. 

Gillen’s initial plan was to wait until all five houses were finished and then “introduce the development to the public as a whole,” but the project has generated so much publicity that he hasn’t determined yet whether he might offer the homes for sale before their completion. “People are already reaching out,” he said. 

Gillen is also the designer and builder of the most expensive home currently listed in Malibu — the $80 million New [Malibu] Castle, built on the same site as the former Castle Kashan, which burned down in 2007 (and did resemble a castle). The new 11,000 square foot main house is built on the same 2.5 hilltop acres. 

The 24-acre property adjacent to Mailbu Bluffs Park had been in the Crummer family for years, and was sold to investor Richard Ackerman in 2005. The Malibu Times reported that no sale price was revealed, but the land had been listed for $26 million. Over the next 11 years, the project went through various hearings before the planning commission, the city and the coastal commission, before finalizing an environmental impact report. During that process, the number and height of houses was reduced and various financial pledges were made.

“The project includes dedication to the city of a 1.74-acre parcel adjacent to Bluffs Park and a voluntary payment to the city of $1 million to be used to develop that parcel,” Bonnie Blue, city planning director, detailed in an email. “The parcel dedication and payment will occur before the final subdivision map is approved by the city council.”

The California Coastal Commission also managed to get an agreement that $4 million will be paid to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), because the group contended the parcel had originally been zoned for visitor-serving uses. Blue said the city did not agree with the CCC’s interpretation. 

Gillen noted that the land was originally listed for $60 million but, at least partially because of these financial obligations, he was able to purchase it for $50 million.  

“This will be the first group of residential properties to be connected to the new Civic Center wastewater treatment plant,” Gillen explained. “The sewer line is already at the mouth of the property and we’re working closely with the city.”