Software tycoon on Malibu property shopping spree

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison recently purchased the Windsail Restaurant property. The City Council also voted to give the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District $155,000, and unanimously approves resolution against proposed LNG facility.

By Jonathan Friedman

Staff Writer

The world’s 12th richest man has purchased restaurant property in Malibu for the second time in less than a year. It was announced at Monday’s City Council meeting that a company called Wavebreak LLC, whose majority shareholder is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, purchased the Windsail restaurant property from Weintraub Financial. Late last year, Ellison bought the neighboring PierView Café for an undisclosed amount through another company. The council was informed about the recent purchase because the city has a development agreement with Weintraub for the Windsail property. The agreement allows a nearly 10,000-square-foot restaurant/spa facility with a floor area ratio larger than the municipal code to be built on the site. In exchange, Weintraub Financial would have made a monetary donation to the city for youth education, and provided a community room for city use. The agreement remains the same for the new owner.

Weintraub Financial principal Richard Weintraub declined to say how much he sold the property for, but he said Ellison’s company approached him about purchasing it. He added that he was under the impression Ellison planned to continue with the development agreement. An attorney representing Wavebreak, Patrick Perry, said he also understood this to be true, but added he did not know if it was a guarantee.

Weintraub is also a major investor in the Adamson Hotel project, which has received all the necessary permits, but has been delayed for several years. Weintraub said no plans exist for Ellison to purchase the hotel property located across from Bluffs Park, but he did not count out a working relationship between the two entities.

“He [Ellison] is a first-class luxury hotel owner,” said Weintraub, who said he would be consulting Ellison on the Windsail project, declining to comment when asked if that meant he would be a hired consultant.

Weintraub said last fall that construction on the hotel would begin in April 2004. However, ground has not been broken yet for the project. At Monday night’s meeting, he said construction would begin in January 2005. Weintraub said the delays were due to their effort to make the best project possible. Sources say Weintraub has not been able to get enough investors to back the hotel.

The council voted 4-1 to approve a reassignment of the Windsail agreement to Wavebreak. Councilmember Ken Kearsley, who voted against the agreement with Weintraub, cast the dissenting vote.

“I have some serious questions about the new owner … We made a deal with Mr. Weintraub, and to assign this to a successor in interest bothers me,” Kearsley said.

Ellison has been on a Malibu property shopping spree as of late. In addition to purchasing the two restaurant properties, last year he bought five beachfront residential properties on Broad Beach for a reported $65 million. Forbes Magazine listed Ellison as the 12th richest man in the world this year, worth an estimated $18.7 billion.

Dollars donated to district

Also at the meeting, the council was presented with the proposed budget for the 2004-05 fiscal year. It includes General Fund revenues of $15,115,897 and an expenditure total of $14.1 million. The council will officially vote on the budget at its June 14 meeting. At Monday’s meeting, the council voted to include in the budget a $155,000 donation to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Along with that, it will give $6,400 to the AVID program, which supports underachieving students. Also, the city and the district will be entering the second year of a joint-use agreement in which the city gives $135,105 in exchange for the use of district facilities.

The council also discussed the possibility of putting a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot. According to a city staff report, this would generate an estimated $1.15 million in additional revenue for the city. City staff will come back at a later meeting with a proposal. The council must vote to put a measure on the ballot by the second week in July if it were to be eligible for the November election.

Task Force recommends installing signal at Civic Center Way, Winter Canyon

The council also heard from the Civic Center Way Task Force on recommendations on solutions for traffic safety issues in the area. The task force was formed after last fall’s Civic Center Way closure fiasco in which the council set up a temporary barrier to prevent access to Civic Center Way from Malibu Canyon Road. That led to a community outcry, and the barrier was removed. The task force gave eight recommendations, putting the highest priority on installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Winter Canyon Road and Civic Center Way. The total cost of all the recommendations was estimated at $400,000. Of that, $85,000 would be funded through Pepperdine University, and the rest would need to be applied for through grants.

Lastly, the council unanimously approved a resolution to oppose the installation of a proposed Liquid Natural Gas facility off the coast of Oxnard because of its potential risk to the environment and human life.