A year ago, Gary Jabara was the largest private owner of wireless infrastructure in the U.S.
While still heavily involved in the tech sector, via his ioXt Alliance, a security certification business for Internet of Things manufacturers that he founded about four years ago, Jabara can now also be identified as a real estate mogul.
Over the past year, he’s spent more than $600 million on a series of notable commercial real estate acquisitions in the state. The all-cash deals come after he sold Newport Beach’s Mobilitie, the telecommunications infrastructure company he founded and chaired, in a deal news reports pegged around $1.7 billion.
That exit, and news of Jabara’s buys of high-end commercial real estate, which he runs under the Boardwalk Investments Group Inc. name, are reasons why the Business Journal boosted the wealth estimate for the exec to $1.5 billion.
He first made the OC’s Wealthiest list about a decade ago, after a big payout for a portfolio of cellphone towers he owned.
Yountville, San Diego
Jabara’s sale of Mobilitie to Australia’s BAI Communications was completed last October. The Newport Beach company infrastructure offerings enable wireless coverage in a variety of settings, ranging from stadiums to casinos.
Money from that deal was soon redeployed into real estate. Last November, the Business Journal was first to learn of Jabara’s purchase of the Estate Yountville, a 22-acre “village-within-a-village” collection of upscale hotels, restaurants, wedding facilities, shops, meeting space, a vineyard and other facilities in the heart of wine country.
The Estate is the largest commercial property in the city of Yountville, which is just off the Saint Helena Highway, about 55 miles north of San Francisco.
“It’s the gem of Napa Valley,” Jabara said at the time of the purchase, a deal that approached $300 million. The property is seeing a major renovation under his ownership.
A few months later, he followed up the Napa deal with another $270 million of buys in San Diego: a recently built high-end apartment tower in the city’s downtown, and a prominent shopping center in Del Mar called Flower Hill Promenade.
The latter property is “the greatest shopping center in all of San Diego,” Jabara said.
Expect more real estate buys going forward, he told the Business Journal at the time.
“We’re always looking—from San Diego to Orange County, to Napa.”
You’ll find many of Gary Jabara’s real estate holdings along Coast Highway: his CRE portfolio in OC runs from The Strand mixed-use center in the heart of Surf City to the Aliso Creek Shopping Center that’s a short walk from the Montage resort in Laguna Beach.
It’s not the only notable asset of Jabara you’ll see on PCH: keep an eye open for his vintage 1955 Mercedes 300SL gullwing.
“I regularly drive it down PCH to Laguna [Beach] and back,” he told the Business Journal. “It runs fantastic and it’s really fast!”
The vehicle got attention last month, when it earned the “Best Classic Car” award at the Balboa Bay Resort’s 15th annual Father’s Day Car Show.
“It was a fun show,” he said. “Needless to say, there were so many beautiful cars, and the crowd was a special Father’s Day gathering of dads and their families, different than just the usual car show.”
The Mercedes has a notable history.
“It’s a special car because it was originally purchased new by Clark Gable and has a storied history from the golden Hollywood years,” he said.
“It’s referred to in the collector world as the Gable 300SL. It’s a 100-point car that was ordered new by Gable himself with factory luggage, Rudge wheels, and a Nardi steering wheel.”
“I have one small rule now, to never drive it without playing Frank [Sinatra] on the radio.”