L.A. Weekly’s new owners finally revealed themselves to the public today, after decimating much of the award-winning newspaper’s editorial staff. In a piece published in the paper, the backers introduced themselves as “a patchwork of people who care about Los Angeles, care about the community.”
Two of the seven named investors have ties to real estate.
The L.A. Weekly was sold in October to an LLC called Semanal Media. Perhaps because the LLC was created for the sole purpose of the Weekly transaction, nothing was known about the group except that it was being represented by a lawyer known for taking on marijuana-related cases and that semanal means “weekly” in Spanish.
The shadowy nature of the investors behind the beloved alternative weekly made many Angelenos nervous. It remains to be seen whether the announcement today in the L.A. Weekly about the identities of some of those investors will put readers at ease.
“The new owners of LA Weekly don’t want you to know who they are. They are hiding from you. They’ve got big black bags with question marks covering their big bald heads.” https://t.co/HAnnUYjt2N— Alissa Walker (@awalkerinLA) November 30, 2017
One investor in the Weekly, hotelier Paul Makarechian, comes from a prominent development family based in Newport Beach. Makarechian is the CEO of Makar Properties, an offshoot of the family company Capital Property Holdings. Makar Properties developed what is now the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.
If people bought a paper in secret, refused to reveal themselves, and then fired almost all the journalists — that would be Big News, right?— Bethany Barnes (@BetsBarnes) November 30, 2017
It's happening right now.
So far, the story of the @laweekly isn't Big News. https://t.co/QrpLIO7XXP https://t.co/6xRLZkGdkN
The hotel opened in 2001 as the ultra-posh St. Regis Monarch Beach, but was foreclosed on in 2009 and handed over to new ownership in 2010.
Makar Properties is based in Beverly Hills, according to its website. The company partnered with Kimpton in 2014 to open a beachy hotel near Santa Barbara. At the time, the transaction that was touted as the company’s return to real estate by the Orange County Business Journal. Makar sold it a year later.
Weekly investor Michael Mugel founded the Santa Ana-based real estate development firm Red Mountain Group, a company that owns shopping centers throughout California and across the country. (It seems like their holdings include only one in LA proper—a Ladera Heights shopping center at La Tijera and Centinela.)
It’s important to note that the investors named in the Weekly article are just some of the parties invested in the future of the storied alt-weekly. It’s not clear how many backers aren’t being named, and if they ever will be.
- And the New Owners Are ... [LA Weekly]