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Veronique de Turenne

Investment group buys Malibu Riviera Motel


When the Malibu Riviera Motel went up for sale at the beginning of the year, Curbed LA's headline called the place "questionable". I suppose that's fair enough. Nothing much has changed since the motel opened for business in 1949. New furniture as the decades changed, a new 'vacancy' sign -- the one in this post went dark a few years back -- and of course the town around it has been transformed.

It's just $99 a night to stay there and in Malibu, where our local billionaires have snapped up the Malibu Beach Inn (bought, gentrified and recently sold by David Geffen) and Casa Malibu, bought and razed by Larry Ellison, it has been a bargain. Sure, the grout in those original showers is a little scary and yes, amenities are few, but it's a democratic place where guests driving rusted out Chevys park next to fellow travelers in brand new Mercedes in the rear lot.

I guess the only surprising thing about the sale is that it took this long to happen. As for what comes next, it's anyone's guess. The Malibu Times reports the structure will remain.

"It's not going to be torn down," (co-manager Maggie ) Pedersen said. "The structure of the building is still going to be the same, they're just going to renovate it and give it a major facelift.

"[The Wilcox family] just wants to give it to somebody that's going to give it new life."

In recent years, the 13-room motel has reportedly fallen into a bit of disrepair, according to reviews on travel websites like and Yelp. According to Pederson, full repairs and updates to the motel, which boasts of famous guests like Marilyn Monroe and Bob Dylan, could come to at least half a million dollars.

Shaun Gilbert, a member and spokesperson of the investment group, said they are looking forward to beginning work on the historic property.

"We're very excited for the unique opportunity that the Malibu Riviera presents and eager to get started," Gilbert said in an emailed statement to The Malibu Times.

Construction begins in January 2016, which leaves nostalgic types less than a month in which to pay their respects. (And yeah, if I were you I'd skip the shower.)

before kanan

The Malibu Riviera Motel, before Kanan, before, well, almost anything we see today.

Next entry: Signs of Saturday: Wishful thinking

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