KBUU News Special: City Staff Worried About Thin Walls In Tunnels, And Quake Faults Crossing Under, Weintraub’s Proposed Gigantic Resort

Written by on March 20, 2024

More details this morning on the proposed hotel in the heart of Malibu.

Developer Richard Weintraub last fall submitted plans to the city … plans for the gigantic hotel … club … conference center and day spa.

The project includes the construction of a luxury resort hotel and related facilities set in landscaped grounds on the 28 acre site. 

The main resort building is 2 levels with 60 hotel rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, library, bar, roof-top club, and resort restaurant.  

Casitas with 86 suites would surround the site … at the crest of the hill … in many cases atop retaining walls visible from PCH and Civic Center Way,.

But under all that … a huge basement would hold an underground tunnel system … connecting to an underground parking garage to be built on a hillside next to Civic Center Way.

The Geologic Map submitted by Weintraub shows that no subsurface exploration has been performed within the proposed 4-story parking structure area … to be dug out of the hillside.

The basement of the main resort building and associated housing spaces connect to the partial subterranean parking structure and satellite buildings connected by a below-grade corridor (tunnel system). 

The basement of the satellite buildings includes a spa, fitness studios, lounge, and guest services corridors.

The developer wants an exemption from city rules about vertical concrete walls next to underground parking garages … and elsewhere on the property.

The city has particular concerns about safety of proposed tunnels … big enough to drive in …  that would be built under the resort.

The application did not supply any data about the strength of numerous vertical concrete walls that would slice into the hill that sits at the corner of Malibu Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway.

That’s where Weintraub is asking for city permission to do massive earthmoving … 343 thousand cubic feet of earthmoving.

Of that … 167 thousand yards of dirt would be trucked away to a disposal site.

That’s more than 15 thousand trucks .. hauling dirt out of Malibu … on Pacific Coast Highway or up Malibu Canyon Road.

The city zoning code allows 1,000 cubic yards of grading. 

Weintraub wants 343 times that.

But it’s what’s under that dirt that might be of greater concern.

Earthquake faults have been mapped on the site.

Underground water may flood the proposed underground tunnels and garages.

Back in 1989 … a large industrial building was proposed for this site.

But it was abandoned after exploratory trenches and borings discovered that the Malibu Coastal Fault crossed right underneath … parallel to and just north of PCH. 

The city wants that data included in the geologic reports from the hotel … along with extensive new studies.

And the city wants the Project Geotechnical Consultant needs to account for seismic earth pressure on retaining walls, including the garage side walls.

The city’s geotechnical consultant blasted numerous other holes through the geotechnical studies filed by the applicant.

Concerns about lack of safety measurements for the tunnels and parking garage walls.

They city geotechnical letter has 27 major issues with Weintraub’s plans to build underground tunnels and parking garages … issues that should have been raised in the original application.

Weintraub has ignored our requests to disclose information about the project. 

Again … as we said yesterday .. this conflict of interest notice.

When this gigantic hotel was first proposed 12 years ago … before KBUU went on the air … this reporter filed a lengthy objection to it.

We have requested comment from Weintraub on this resurrected project.

He has not replied except to say he felt we were being unfair … on social media.

And we are committed … to reporting this major news development in Malibu  … dispassionately  and factually. 


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