Four suitors interested in Malibu Lumber site

Four suitors interested in Malibu Lumber site

The City Council discusses behind closed doors the interest of four developers in renting the Malibu Lumber site.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

There are at least four parties interested in leasing the space formerly occupied by Malibu Lumber, which is located on the newly city-owned Chili Cook-Off site.

According to the City Council’s closed-session agenda, which lists real estate and legal items that are discussed behind closed doors by the council before the public meeting, the council talked with relevant city staff members about real estate negotiations for “price and terms of payment” for the Malibu Lumber space with four developers: Koss Real Estate Investments, J.S. Rosenfield & Co., Weintraub Financial Services Inc. and Watt Realty Advisors (a division of Santa Monica-based Watt Commercial Properties).

During the regular scheduled meeting, local activist John Mazza told the council that he was disappointed it appeared to him local merchants were being moved out of Malibu, as the city was only negotiating with major developers. Several council members said they welcomed all bidders. Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich suggested local merchants could come together to make a collective bid to rent the space.

The city needs to rent the vacant space to bring in income to pay off the certificates of participation it sold to raise funds for the Chili Cook-Off site purchase.

A new tenant would most likely tear down the existing building and construct a new one of the same size. According to the city’s purchase agreement with the Malibu Bay Co. for the Chili Cook-Off site, any of the three structures on the Chili Cook-Off site can be torn down, but they can only be replaced by buildings of the same size.

Late last year, Malibu Bay extended the date for the city to close escrow on the Chili Cook-Off site from Dec. 31 to late March because it said it wanted to continue negotiating with an unnamed party (rumored to be retailers Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, which is owned by Urban Outfitters) about renting the vacant space. It was never clear why Malibu Bay was concerned who would be the lessee, since it was selling the Chili Cook-Off site. But no deal was ever reached and the city was left to find a tenant.

Malibu Country Estates gets premium parking

Also at the meeting, Conley Ulich suggested the council should consider bringing a measure before the voters asking if they would like the county’s $7 summer beach parking fee increased, so that money could be raised to afford more officers for the Beach Team Operation, which patrols the beach during the summer. Councilmembers Andy Stern and Jeff Jennings both were against the idea. City Attorney Christi Hogin stopped further discussion of the idea just as the conversation was getting intense because the item was not on the agenda. State law does not allow items that are not on the agenda to be discussed.

In other action, the council voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance that prohibits non-neighborhood vehicles from parking in Malibu Country Estates, the area located just west of Pepperdine University, from 2 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Without comment, Jennings voted against the measure. He had already opposed the idea last November when the homeowner’s association leaders came to the council requesting the drafting of the ordinance.

“The curbs and the streets belong to the public at large,” Jennings said in November. “They don’t belong to the people who live in houses adjacent to them.”

Each home will be issued two parking permits. This will prevent homes with Pepperdine students from receiving several permits.

The homeowners will pay for the cost of the ordinance, including making signs and enforcement.

The ordinance will last for one year, giving city officials time to study what it called a “pilot project” to see if it is effective.

Additionally, the council rejected the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval for a permit to construct a 3,578-square-foot home on Escondido Beach.

Lastly, the council conducted a preliminary review of the 2006-07 Fiscal Year budget. A vote on the budget will take place at the first meeting in June.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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