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Billionaire VC Wants California to Give Him $30 Million for Public Access to His Beach

February 23, 2016, 10:07 PM UTC
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Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010. Khosla discussed the future of technology startups, the outlook for the biofuels market and investment opportunities. Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg/ Getty Images

Bay Area residents could soon regain access to the once popular Martins Beach tech investor Vinod Khosla purchased eight years ago—but for the steep price of $30 million.

Lawyers for Khosla, a wealthy Silicon Valley investor who previously co-founded Sun Microsystems, have sent a letter to California’s State Lands Commission with the offer earlier this month, according to a report from the New York Times. The price is almost as much as Khosla paid for the entire 53-acre property he purchased in 2008, when he paid $37.5 million for the stretch of land and beach.

The commission, however, isn’t liking the offer too much.

“We do not agree with that value, and we believe the value is significantly less than that,” the commission’s executive officer, Jennifer Lucchesi, told the Times. “We have not seen any backup documentation to support the $30 million value.”

Khosla initially allowed public access through Martins Beach Road, which connects the highway to the waterfront, after he purchased the property, but he closed it off in 2010, triggering a years-long battle to reopen the beach. In January 2015, legislation took effect that gave the commission one year to negotiate a deal to restore public access. However, if the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the state does have the option of resorting to eminent domain to take over private property for public use.

In the letter, Khosla’s attorney, Dori L. Yob, said that his limited liability companies, which own the property, closed access to the beach because of low demand.