How much should it cost the state of California to buy access to Martins Beach? Roughly $30 million, according to Silicon Valley investment titan Vinod Khosla, who owns the San Mateo County property.
Khosla s lawyers dropped that number into a Feb. 3 letter to Jennifer Lucchesi, executive director of the State Lands Commission, which has been negotiating with Khosla to purchase a public right of way. The easement would allow people to drive down Martins Beach Road and hang out on the sandy beach.
Seeing as Khosla bought the entire 89-acre property in 2008 for $32.5 million, the estimate from Team Khosla seems just a tad high, said Gary Redenbacher, an attorney representing Friends of Martins Beach in one of two lawsuits seeking to reopen the beach. The letter to Lucchesi was submitted as evidence in the case.
I m not an appraiser, Redenbacher cautioned before noting that some basic calculations suggest the easement of slightly more than 6 acres would probably be worth less than $1 million.
Reached by email, Lucchesi said her staff does not agree with Khosla s assessment.
We believe the fair market value is significantly less than that, she said Friday. As of today, we have not seen any documentation or analysis supporting the $30 million value.
In the letter to Lucchesi, Khosla attorney Dori Yob also mentioned that Khosla had offered to sell the entire property to the state for fair market value.
Lucchesi said Khosla s representatives had made comments along those lines in the past, but the Feb. 3 letter was the first time they had communicated the idea in writing.
The commission will soon weigh whether to use eminent domain to purchase the public right of way, barring a last minute breakthrough in negotiations.
Yob did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
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