Malibu Performing Arts Center to become new city hall

The City of Malibu’s ongoing search for a permanent city hall ended this afternoon upon the acceptance of its $15 million bid by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Malibu Performing Arts Center, Mayor Andy Stern confirmed in a telephone interview Friday.

Former MPAC property owner Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Malibu submitted the bid last month as part of bankruptcy proceedings. City officials said they could not comment on any other aspect of the auction, including the total number of offers made.

“The [City] Council believes that this is a very fair price for the purchase of a building that will become Malibu’s city hall,” Mayor Andy Stern said last month in an e-mail to The Malibu Times, adding that the city would issue certificates of participation to fund the purchase.

Valued at $27.6 million, according to a January 2008 appraisal, the 40,000-square-foot Malibu Performing Arts Center, or MPAC, has state-of-the-art recording and sound systems, a 500-seat theater and dance studios. Included with the sale of the property are the fellowship’s assets, which include the high-tech recording equipment, housed inside the building located on Stuart Ranch Road.

The city’s $15 million offer was chosen as the first by Jeffrey I. Golden, the Chapter 11 trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Vineyard Christian Fellowship, to encourage bidding by other interested parties. This tactic, commonly referred to as a “stalking-horse bid,” allows the bankrupt company to avoid low bids on its assets.

Local broker Tony Dorn, who owned 25 percent of MPAC after his role as one of its original developers, said last month in a telephone interview that while it is possible the city could be outbid by a bigger company, the MPAC building would make an “exceptional” city hall.

“It’s modernized, well parked and near emergency services,” Dorn said, calling it “advantageous” for the city to acquire an existing building so that it wouldn’t have to endure the pre-development process.

A follow-up story will be featured in next week’s newspaper.

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