Word is starting to make its way down the ultra-high-end real estate gossip grapevine that Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton reached an agreement to sell his spectacular oceanfront front spread on Malibu’s Carbon Beach to an unknown buyer for a mind melting and record shattering $110 million. Morton is represented in the top-secret transaction by power brokers Branden and Rayni Williams of Williams & Williams Estates at Hilton & Hyland and the buyer by Barry Peele of Sotheby’s International Realty. The philanthropic entrepreneur, who sold the Hard Rock Café chain in 1995 for $410 million and the famously raucous Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in 2006 in an all cash deal reported to net him more than $730 million, has owned the smaller of the two parcels since sometime before 1993 and records indicate he acquired the larger lot in 1998 for $3.5 million.
Secured behind gates and discreetly obscured behind a row of mature trees, the property encompasses about two-thirds of an acre with significant frontage along one of the most exclusive and expensive stretches of sand in the world. Per tax records and other online resources, the L-shaped two-story main residence contains 4,618-square-feet with four en suite bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms while the two-story guest house offers another three en suite bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in 2,316-square-feet. Sheathed in lustrous teak cladding that requires constant oiling — a 2006 article in W magazine on the then newly completed residence revealed Morton employed a full-time worker for the Sisyphean task — were designed by architect Richard Meier with operable teak shutters that can be opened and closed to modulate light, air and privacy while the muted and comfortably luxurious interior furnishings were handled by designer Michael S. Smith and selected to showcase the view along with Morton’s world-class contemporary art collection. The two structures, both with two-car garages and the guest house with a state-of-the-art screening room on the ground floor, are conveniently joined by extensive teak decking that spans the full width of the property’s beach frontage and picturesquely separated by a sea breeze tossed beach grass garden designed by Pamela Burton with a minimalist-minded lap lane swimming pool lined with white mosaic tiles.
If the rumored sale price of $110 million is accurate, and it represents the sale price of the real estate only and not any contents of the home, it will obliterate the only recently set record for the costliest single-family residence ever sold in Malibu. In May of 2017 David Geffen sold his longtime, multi-structure Carbon Beach compound for $85 million to Dodgers owner Mark Walter and less than a year later, in February 2018, a striking contemporary mansion custom built on six bluff top acres above prestigious Malibu Road by powerhouse real estate broker Kurt Rappapport, co-owner of Westside Estate Agency, went for $85 million to Canadian investor and Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz who reportedly shelled out another $35 million for the contents of the home.
Morton has bought and sold many multi-million dollar homes in the Los Angeles area but he’s steadfastly held on to a nearly 13,500-square foot mansion set behind gates on 1.3 landscaped acres with a tennis court, swimming pool and poolside guesthouse in the hoity-toity Holmby Hills area that he scooped up in 1996 for an unrecorded amount from former Warner Bros. co-CEO Robert A. Daly. Perhaps looking for a change of real estate scenery or perhaps just as an investment, in the fall of 2006 the stylishly suave and deep-pocketed restaurateur and hotelier shelled out $18.5 million for a multi-parcel estate in a particularly posh section of Beverly Hills that had previously been owned by Marlo Thomas, David Geffen and radio mogul Norm Pattiz. Morton eventually split the estate in two and sold the larger chunk, with its 8,110-square-foot, city-view Tudor mansion, in May 2011 for $16.19 million to current owner Sandra Bullock.
Morton also, briefly and lucratively owned a Rex Lotery-designed Regency-inspired pavilion at the tail end of a cul-de-sac high in the trendy and terrifically expensive Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills that was home to Elvis and Priscilla Presley in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. He purchased the city-to-ocean view residence in late 2012 for $9.8 million and, after he took a ton of public heat from architectural preservationists and entertainment industry historians for his plans to tear it down, set the property out for rent at $45,000 per month before it was sold for $14.5 million in a March 2014 off-market deal to an investor who gave it a quick gussy-up and since October 2016 has had listed both on and off the market at $30 million.
UPDATE (04-19-18): This post was amended to reflect that the transaction is not being handled by Stephen Shapiro at Westside Estate Agency, as was originally reported, by rather that Morton is represented by Branden and Rayni Williams of Williams & Williams Estates at Hilton & Hyland.