In most places, Frank Sinatra's moving to the neighborhood would be big news.
But not along Malibu's star-studded Broad Beach, where the entertainer just spent $3 million for a two-story house that he and wife Barbara want to tear down and replace with a 7,000-square-foot home.
"I think they chose there because everyone else is there, and, of course, because of the ocean," Sinatra publicist Susan Reynolds said of the couple's plans.
The California Coastal Commission, which must approve such matters, is expected to give the go-ahead for the tear-down today at its meeting in San Diego. The commission staff has recommended approval.
If the Sinatras, who have a home in Rancho Mirage, get their wish, they will be moving to a beachfront neighborhood that includes homes owned by Goldie Hawn, Carroll O'Connor, Jack Lemmon, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg, Walter Matthau, Dinah Shore, Dustin Hoffman, Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, and Dick Martin, among others.
"It (Broad Beach) has really become a place of preference for a growing number of celebrities," real estate broker and longtime Malibu resident Louis T. Busch said.
Real estate brokers and others say that Broad Beach, which is in the western portion of the 20-mile-long community, has become the hottest celebrity haven in Malibu during the last five years, rivaling the more famous--and heavily secured--Malibu Colony.
"Those who prefer a little more security and convenience tend to favor the Colony, while those who want more space and a little better beach tend to go for Broad Beach," real estate broker Jack Pritchett said.
Along with the influx of celebrities have come higher prices.
For example, among houses for sale along the two-mile stretch of Broad Beach, it is exceptional to find anything below $5 million, brokers say. A home where screen star Merle Oberon once lived, with 105 feet of beachfront--as opposed to the usual 40 feet--recently went on the market for $8.75 million.
"These are extremely nice places, but they're not palatial residences," said one broker, who did not want to be identified. "For the most part, they are houses where there isn't enough room for a tennis court, but where you can squeeze in a pool."
So what's the lure?
"The beach itself is wonderful, with big sand dunes you don't find at other places," Busch said.
Pritchett, whose firm handled the Sinatra sale, agrees.