Chance to Fix Up Pacific Palisades’ Fabled Sunspot Motel Slides Away

A landslide seems to have definitively buried renovation hopes for one of Pacific Coast Highway’s first motor hotels.

At about 11 a.m. on Dec. 10, about 700 tons of earth and boulders on a 300 foot bluff overlooking the highway in Pacific Palisades came crashing down on the fabled Sunspot Motel.

Built in the ‘20s to accommodate overnight highway travelers and once rumored to be a house of ill-repute, the Sunspot later added a restaurant and nightclub that in the ‘70s hosted a teeming disco scene.

Though the Sunspot has been closed for nearly 10 years, the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department, which owned the property, hoped eventually to renovate and lease the building as a motel and restaurant.

That plan has remained in limbo, however, since a city study two years ago recommended such safety precautions as moving the building away from the bluff.


Now city officials are glad the lease plan never moved forward.

“The slide crushed the westerly portion of the building--the part that would have been the restaurant,” said Joe Cobarrubias, chief geologist for the city’s Building and Safety Department. “It was 11 a.m. and there’s no telling who would have been in there. I’m glad to see we didn’t use it. Sometimes you win a few.”

Since the slide, the city has walled off the area with earthen berms. Officials plan to demolish what’s left of the building and remove the debris.


AND THE WINNER IS . . . Susan Brooks?

At least according to the new 1995 World Almanac, Brooks, a Rancho Palos Verdes city councilwoman, prevailed in her race against Rep. Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills).

Printed shortly after the election, the latest Almanac lists Brooks, a Republican, as winning with 82,415 votes to Harman’s 82,322 votes--a tally taken before all absentee votes had been counted.

“Oh good,” Brooks said on hearing about the publication. “Where can I get one?”

After the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office finished its vote count several weeks later, Harman ended up the victor by 812 votes.

Brooks has not conceded the race, citing discrepancies in the way ballots were cast in some Venice precincts. She has hinted at taking a challenge to the registrar or to the U.S. House of Representatives.


BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A BILLION? The price of admission is $310 million--but that only gets you in the door.

Forbes magazine has released its list of the 400 richest people in America. Thanks in part to the rise of computer and entertainment industries, California has 83 on the list--and 37 of them live on the Westside.

Those worth less than $310 million need not apply for admission to the Forbes list, published annually since 1984. Some Westsiders had no problem meeting that requirement.

In the over-$2 billion category is Kirk Kerkorian, 77, of Beverly Hills. The junior high dropout and son of Armenian immigrants made his first multimillion-dollar profit in 1966, selling a charter airline he had built. He bought, sold and bought back the MGM and United Artists studios, then sold them again for more than $1.3 billion. His net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion.

Another in the $2-billion club is Marvin Davis, 69, also of Beverly Hills. Davis made his money in the oil business and is currently exploring opportunities in interactive TV. David Geffen, 51, of Malibu placed third on the Westside with an estimated worth of $1 billion. Geffen, a college dropout, started out as a CBS usher and made his fortune with Asylum Records.