Mary Davis, a major business investor in the area, has sold her interests at King Harbor for about $16 million. The buyer is a general partnership connected to Robert M. Bass, reportedly one of the richest men in the country.
The city owns the land at King Harbor, which includes the pier, but leases it to 18 master lessees who may sublease portions of their leasehold with city approval.
Davis, who was the last of the five original master lessees, recently sold her interests in the Portofino leasehold--including a hotel, restaurant, apartments and boat slips--to Portofino Partners. Under the agreement, the city will receive a gradually increasing percentage of the leasehold's gross revenues as rent.
The new owners plan to spend about $9 million on renovations, which will probably include another restaurant, meeting facilities and up to 40 more hotel rooms, said Michael Matkins, an attorney representing West Group Portofino Associates, a general partner of Portofino Partners.
The other half of the partnership is ARC Portofino Associates, which is part of Bass's holdings.
In 1986, Forbes magazine estimated the combined wealth of Bass, of Fort Worth, Tex., and his three brothers, Sid, Edward and Lee, at more than $3.2 billion.
West Group, which will handle the day-to-day operations of the leasehold, specializes in the acquisition and renovation of older commercial and hotel projects and is owned by Patrick Colee and Charles Lande. West Group purchased the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles in 1984.
The deal was to be completed this week to avoid changes in the federal tax law that take effect today. Under the new tax law, a larger portion of Davis' capital gains would be taxed, and at higher rate.
Davis could not be reached for comment, but her assistant, Patrice Preston, said that Davis has wanted to sell her holdings after more than 25 years so she could pursue other interests. Davis will remain indefinitely as a consultant to the new owners, Preston said, but also may enter politics, possibly running for mayor.