Trancas shopping center enters major renovation stage

A completed structure stands at the front of the Trancas Market shopping center facing Pacific Coast Highway. 

Ongoing renovation work at the Trancas Market shopping center accelerated last week when the center’s tenants were moved into temporary housing before their former buildings were torn down or gutted. The construction manager for the center estimated that most of the tenants would be relocated to their permanent spaces within four to six weeks, although two, Trancas Canyon Nursery and Sea Lily Malibu, will operate out of temporary trailers for at least four to five months. 

Most of the tenants said moving had been a headache and that business was temporarily down, but looked forward to moving into new spaces soon. The most drastic makeover occurred at the back of the shopping center, where the popular nursery had been located on a leafy lot thick with vegetation for the past 28 years. The two shops moved their merchandise to small temporary trailers at the front of the center facing Pacific Coast Highway. 

“We’re looking to be finished with the building structures at the beginning of summer. June or July,” said Scott Rozier, president/CEO of construction firm ROSCH Company which is overseeing the renovation. 

The construction was originally planned for December but was postponed to accommodate the Christmas shopping season for tenants. Rozier also estimated that Erewhon Natural Foods Market would move in to the space previously occupied by HOWS Market around August. 

Two new buildings will be built at the back of the property. Trancas Canyon Nursery’s current 125-square-foot building will be remodeled, Rozier said, while Sea Lily will move into a new approximately 600-square-foot space. A third approximately 1,000-square-foot building will be built on the site for a new tenant where Sea Lily used to be housed. The two shops should be able to move into their permanent spaces within four to five months, Rozier said. Stone and McCloskey were looking forward to the new spaces, although they said it was difficult in the interim. 

“I think in the long run, it’s probably going to be a really good thing, but right now it’s hard,” Stone said. 

PostalAnnex, Trancas Cleaners and Drill moved into small temporary spaces when their previous space adjacent to Starbucks at the corner of Trancas Canyon Road and PCH was gutted. Drill and PostalAnnex are located adjacent to the former HOWS Market space, while Trancas Cleaners is housed temporarily in a separate building at the front of the shopping center. The three stores are expected to move to larger spaces adjacent to the former HOWS space within four to six weeks. Starbucks is currently operating out of a temporary trailer. 

PostalAnnex owner Mike Hebert on Friday said he was looking forward to moving into his new 1,100-square-foot space. 

“[We are] looking forward to expanding our mailboxes, we’ll be able to expand our services,” Hebert said. “We’ve been wanting to do this for 10 years.” 

Trancas Cleaners owner Sam Sung has heard his neighbors’ predictions of the 4-6 week time frame for moving, but hopes it is conservative. 

“In my case, hopefully it’s sooner,” said Sung, noting he has a tenant improvement permit from the City of Malibu to move in as soon as workers finish installing drywall and water, gas and electrical hookups. 

With his cleaning machines disconnected in his temporary space, Sung has been making twice-daily trips to a second store he opened three years ago in Newbury Park, hauling his customers’ clothes by van in the morning for cleaning and delivering them back in the afternoon. Foot traffic had been down in the week since his move, he said. 

As soon as utilities are connected, Sung intends to install new European finishing machines he purchased, including a pressing machine for finishing fine garments. 

When completed, Rozier said the center would have a central grass area with stone seating, fire pits and patios as a gathering space. The space was “designed around small shops with the community in mind,” Rozier said. 

Despite the headache of moving, Sung was enthusiastic about the way the shopping center would look when the renovation was complete, despite the headache of moving. 

“I hope [the shopping centers at] Cross Creek gets Louis Vuitton. All the locals will come here,” said Sung. “People don’t understand the value of the space the owner is providing instead of [the former] rundown center. It’s going to be a plus to Malibu.”