Reopening of movie theater, shops delayed again

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Original estimates had the theater and shops reopening by December, but construction delays have now put the reopening of some of the businesses for this spring, and the theater and others for May or June.

By Brian Foy / Special to The Malibu Times

It appears as though Malibu will have to wait a few more months before its community can enjoy movies and ice cream again. Several businesses including the New Malibu Theater and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop were destroyed in the April 17 fire that damaged nearly a third of Malibu’s Cross Creek Plaza. The Los Angeles County Fire Department determined the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction.

Cross Creek Plaza owner Steve Soboroff in an interview Sunday said work from his end should be completed in another month; however, interior work and the storefronts would take a few more months to be completed. The New Malibu Theater, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop, Casa Escobar and Fast Frame should reopen in May or June, and the Malibu Eye Center and Bay Cities Beauty Supply should reopen sooner, he said.

Soboroff told The Malibu Times in July that the New Malibu Theater and the Ben & Jerry’ Ice Cream shop were expected to be rebuilt and be ready for business by December and that the other fire damaged stores could reopen a few months later.

However, the New Malibu Theater and the Ben & Jerry’ Ice Cream shop needed new roofs and the interior of the two facilities needed to be gutted and replaced. And most of the exterior of those buildings needed to be rebuilt from the ground up, Soboroff said.

As to what the rebuilt businesses and their storefronts might look like when finished, Soboroff told The Malibu Times in May of last year, “If I were a betting man, I’d say that if you came back to [Cross Creek Plaza] a year from today you wouldn’t even know there had been a fire there.”

Chief Operating Officer John Hunter of Wallace Theaters, which manages the theater, told The Malibu Times in April that stadium seating for the redesigned theater was being considered. However, Soboroff later said there was not enough space to execute those plans.

Soboroff described the New Malibu Theater Sunday as looking “phenomenal.” He went on to say that although the theater would have a slightly smaller capacity, moviegoers could expect to see new amenities such as wider leather seats.

“The New Malibu Theater looks like a brand new facility,” Soboroff said.

As a whole, Soboroff said the tenants of Cross Creek Plaza had gone “above and beyond” in comparing the look of their new businesses with their old.