Developer buys Malibu Colony Plaza


The new owner is E. Stanley Kroenke. It is not known if he bought other Malibu Bay Co.-owned properties.

By Jonathan Friedman/ Assistant Editor

Billionaire developer and multi-sports team owner E. Stanley Kroenke has purchased the Malibu Colony Plaza from the Malibu Bay Co., which owns several other properties in Malibu. With the purchase, he also obtained adjacent land where Malibu Urgent Care, a post office, a gas station and a nearby parking lot are located. It is not known if Kroenke acquired any of Malibu Bay’s other properties, nor was the price of the deal revealed.

The Colony Plaza is technically located on Malibu Road, but motorists driving along Pacific Coast Highway can see the front of the property’s buildings. It is located on the beach side of the highway and includes Ralph’s grocery store, several restaurants, including Granita and Coogies, several Theodore Beach clothing shops, and other stores.

Rumors of a possible Colony Plaza sale have been circulating around Malibu for several years. Tenants of the approximately 113,000-square-foot facility were informed about the Kroenke purchase late last week. The transaction became official on Friday.

Malibu Bay spokesperson David Reznick would not comment on the purchase, but released a statement on Tuesday confirming the deal. He wrote that the plaza would continue to be managed by Cindy McAfee.

Kroenke, 57, is a new player in Malibu, but not in the real estate and development business. He owns a company called the Kroenke Group, the actual buyer of the plaza, which has several properties throughout the United States and Canada in its possession. Kroenke’s biography on the Web site of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, which Kroenke owns, states, “He has built a reputation as one of the nation’s leading developers of shopping centers and apartment buildings.” Kroenke also owns the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the arena in which the hockey and basketball teams play. Additionally, he is a minority owner of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and co-owner of the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush.

Forbes magazine listed Kroenke this year as the 387th richest man in the world with $1.7 billion in personal wealth. His wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, inherited money from her father, Wal-Mart co-founder James “Bud” Walton. She is worth $3 billion and is ranked 194th on Forbes’ list. The two live in Columbia, Mo.

Calls to the Kroenke Group’s spokesperson were not returned.

Kroenke will be the third owner of the Colony Plaza. Its construction began in 1988 with the opening of Hughes Market by then-owner Reco Land Corp., which was headed by Roy E. Crummer. Construction continued into 1989, with the full plaza opening in the summer. That year, Reco Land sold the plaza to Malibu Bay, which then was headed by Jerry Perenchio and the Konheim family. At that time, Malibu Bay also bought its other local properties, which were previously owned by Reco Land. In 1999, the Konheims sold their share of Malibu Bay to Perenchio.

Malibu Bay possesses 11 other properties in the city: six mostly vacant commercially zoned sites in the Civic Center area, one vacant residentially zoned Point Dume property and four vacant residentially zoned lands in Trancas.

The most controversial Malibu Bay-owned property is the Chili Cook-Off site, a 20-acre property that stretches along Pacific Coast Highway from Cross Creek Road to Webb Way. Perenchio recently offered to sell the site to the city for $25 million if it could come up with the money before the end of the year. City officials hope a city-owned Chili Cook-Off site could be used as part of a sophisticated program designed to clean the lagoon and creek. Malibu is trying to raise the money through grants and loans.

A line in Malibu Bay’s offer to the city states that it could sell the Chili Cook-Off site to a party other than the city if it were to come up with an offer higher than $25 million. It is not known if Kroenke made that offer. City Manager Katie Lichtig said she did not know if the Chili Cook-Off site had been sold.

Kroenke is the third major billionaire to buy Malibu commercial property since 2003. Larry Ellison, head of Oracle Corp., bought PierView Restaurant in 2003 and in 2004 he acquired a project to develop a new Windsail Restaurant on an adjacent property. Ellison has also in the last two years bought several expensive residential homes on Broad Beach and Serra Retreat. Earlier this year, David Geffen, co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, bought Malibu Inn.