Bay Company offers a model city

Tired of waiting for the City Council to draw up a Civic Center Specific Plan, the Malibu Bay Company has submitted an application to develop the area. For the past 2-1/2 years, development projects had been on hold. “We were hopeful that the Specific Plan Advisory Council recommendations would result in the adoption of a Specific Plan,” said David Reznick of the Malibu Bay Company. “The council appears to have lost interest in adopting a Specific Plan.”

The plans are under review by the city staff. Meanwhile, the Bay Company is asking people to take a look at its vision. Two large, 3-dimensional models sit on display at the office of architect Ed Niles, and the Malibu Bay Company is urging the public to come take a peek.

“We’re just trying to expose it to everyone,” said Reznick. “In general, the response from the community has been favorable. We’re looking to have as many people as possible view it. In the past there has been a lot of uninformed speculation about our development plans. We want to be sure the public and the city have accurate information on which to base their decision.”

“We need feedback to know what is going to be correct for the site,” said architect Lisa Niles, daughter of Ed Niles. “We’re trying to create a village, create something special for the people of Malibu.”

A 20-foot-by-8-foot model shows what is commonly known as the Chili Cook-off site. Current buildings there occupy about 30,000 square feet. The Bay Company’s plans call for an additional 140,000 square feet of construction. Plans include a four-cinema theater, a medium-sized gourmet food store and retail shops. No tenants have been identified. The model shows a lot of heavily landscaped area with a turf parking lot. “It’s not just an asphalt parking lot, it’s a heavily landscaped park,” said Niles. “You park on grass. The whole area can be shut down for festivals.”

A 6-by-10 model depicts the site on the northeast corner of Stuart Ranch Road and Civic Center Way. Plans call for 60,000 square feet of office space with second-story residential development. Its plan and layout are similar to the Chili Cook-off site.

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“It’s meant to be a centerpiece,” said Niles. “An intellectual playground for Malibu. Not so much a retail area.” Niles compared it to the newly opened Starbucks near Trancas beach, which she said has proven to be a popular gathering place. “It’s such a relaxing spot where people can really come together.”

Although the Malibu Bay Company has been working on the site for years, the models were built only recently. “I think it will help people understand what our proposals are,” said Reznick. “It illustrates the residential scale and community flavor of the project and also the amount of open space that’s provided.” Reznick said the models also show that the project is environmentally friendly with its turf parking lots and state-of-the-art treatment plant.

Niles said the models may soon be displayed in various parts of the city, as soon as they determine the best way to move them. “We just have to figure out physically how we’re going to do it,” said Niles. Until then, the models can be seen at Niles’ office near Zuma Beach. (29350 Pacific Coast Hwy. Niles’ office is suite 9, the models are in suite 4. Anyone interested in seeing the models can call the Malibu Bay Company at 456-6555.)

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

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