Soboroff says he’ll miss Cross Creek Plaza

File photo November 2007 

The developer, Steve Soboroff, confirmed this week that the shopping plaza is in escrow.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

If all goes smoothly, Cross Creek Plaza could be under new ownership by early August. Steve Soboroff, who purchased the property from Harrison Ford and Tom Selleck in 1988, confirmed this week that the plaza is in escrow, to be sold to an unnamed group of investors.

Soboroff would not disclose how much the property is in escrow for or who the potential buyer is. He did say that he had been speaking with three potential buyers and the one he chose “is way out ahead of the others.”

Although nationwide the real estate market is considered to be weak, Malibu property remains a hot item. And Soboroff couldn’t pass up a good offer.

“[The question is not] ‘How can I sell it?’ It’s ‘How can I not sell it?'” Soboroff said this week in an interview. “How can I not sell at a very fair price in a very aggressive market?”

The Pacific Palisades resident and former city of Los Angeles mayoral candidate said he has been receiving at least one offer on the property each week for the past three or four years. He said when the offer he accepted came, he had to think about his young family.

“I had to take advantage of something that is very important to them,” Soboroff said. “I’m not as wealthy as all these guys say I am.”

Soboroff is also president of the development company, Playa Vista, which built the controversial upscale Play Vista housing development.

Cross Creek Plaza includes the movie theater, Wells Fargo bank, several restaurants including Guido’s and Casa Escobar, and various other shops and service places. Two years ago, a portion of the plaza burned down in a fire caused by an electrical problem. Over a length of time the businesses were restored, with the movie theater being one of the last to reopen this year in a grand ceremony. The remaining business still closed due to the fire is the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. It is expected to open soon.

Soboroff said the community should not expect radical changes at the plaza because most of the tenants are signed to long leases. He would not disclose how long most of them are, but he did reveal that the movie theater is signed for nine years.

A $4 million wastewater system is being installed on the property, with money being borrowed for that project. He has said that was a factor in his decision to sell the property as well.

Soboroff said he will miss being the mall’s owner. “You’re not supposed to get emotionally attached to real estate. But I did.”

He said he still wants to remain a part of the community even after he sells the property. He contributed $250,000 last year to the city for the municipal purchase of the Chili Cook-Off site. Soboroff has also been financially and actively involved with Malibu Green Machine, the nonprofit group dedicated to beautifying the city, with its current project being the landscaping of a portion of Pacific Coast Highway’s median.