Businesses leaving Cross Creek Plaza

A rendering of the planned remodel of Carbon Center Plaza on Pacific Coast Highway, which houses PC Greens and is owned by Dan Bercu.

Rising rents force businesses to seek new homes. Three other malls in Malibu will see changes as well.

By Nora Fleming / Special to The Malibu Times

Following the many changes at Malibu Country Mart, two stores are leaving across the street at Malibu Cross Creek Shopping plaza, but no new businesses have been chosen as replacements.

Malibu Beach Club and Karen Chase’s Dance for Kids/ Malibu Academy of Dance will no longer occupy space as of Labor Day weekend.

Jay Luchs, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis and leasing agent for Cross Creek Plaza, said the owners, Pouya Abdi and Michael Shabani of Retail Holdings Group have talked to future tenants but no deals have yet been signed.

“There are a lot of local stores [in Cross Creek]. We would like to mix these with some of the names coming into the Malibu Lumber Yard,” Luchs said.

Luchs also handles the leasing for the mall being built on the site of the old lumberyard at Cross Creek Road and Pacific Coast Highway.

The Malibu Lumber Yard shopping mall, scheduled to open in the fall, will be bringing in some new high-end boutique stores, in addition to housing a few local businesses.

Luchs said no other businesses in Cross Creek Plaza are leaving anytime soon, but expressed doubt that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, which has been closed since the April 2005 fire in the plaza, will re-open. Another ice cream store, a children’s candy store or a boutique could be options, he said.

Karen Chase, who owns Malibu Academy of Dance, has taught lessons to students aged two to adult in the Malibu location for three years, in addition to operating a location in Brentwood for the past 10 years.

She will be moving her business to the Malibu Performing Arts Center as of Sept. 1.

“The rent went up. The city reassessed the property. It was a little tough for us to stay,” Chase said.

Chase said they were contacted about space opening up at the performing arts center, while they were in the process of looking for a new location, and had two or three other possibilities lined up.

The MPAC location was ideal, Chase said, because it was several minutes away and the studio was already built.

“It’s roughly the same size [as the Cross Creek location],” Chase said. “Rent is more than it was here [before], but less than it would be to stay [in Cross Creek].”

Jesta Erichsen, who has owned and operated the clothing store Malibu Beach Club in Cross Creek Plaza for eight and a half years, will be also leaving Labor Day weekend. Erichsen operated a location in the Malibu Country Mart for the 12 years prior and had subleased her current location from the dance studio.

Erichsen said she will move out of Malibu entirely and is in the process of upgrading her West Agoura Road location in Calabasas to a much larger store four doors down.

“We have good business [in Malibu] but we can’t meet the new expenses,” Erichsen said.

Rumors of tenants leaving have circulated in Cross Creek since Abdi and Shabani bought the plaza from Steve Soboroff in 2007. The property was re-assessed at a much higher rate than Soboroff had paid, increasing rent for tenants.

Abdi was reportedly out of town and was unavailable to comment on this article.

In an earlier interview with The Malibu Times, Abdi said he planned to make some aesthetic changes to the plaza and change the name to Malibu Village, but made no mention of any tenants leaving.

Levon Akopyan, who has owned European Shoe Repair, a business in the plaza, for more than two decades, said he has no plans of leaving Cross Creek anytime soon.

“We’re all stressing out about [rising rent]; we’re all worried about it. But we haven’t heard anything from the [owners] yet,” Akopyan said. “Hopefully it will be OK for everybody.”

Facelifts in order

Three other malls in Malibu will also see some upgrades.

Dan Bercu, who owns the plazas Trancas Country Mart, the Malibu Sands at 22601 PCH, and the Center at Carbon Beach at 22333 PCH, in addition to Brentwood Country Mart and a shopping plaza in Woodland Hills, is in the process of upgrading and/or remodeling all three malls in Malibu.

Trancas Country Mart, which houses HOWS Market, is awaiting a public hearing to start a re-model and expansion.

Bercu said he expects the hearing to take place in early fall and hopes to start remodeling the plaza in October, which will feature two new restaurants and several retail shops, if plans go as intended.

The Trancas application will need to through both a public hearing process and an internal Environmental Review Board analysis to start building.

“We’re two years into it, but there hasn’t been a lot of brain damage [yet],” Bercu joked.

The Center at Carbon Beach shopping plaza, which houses PC Greens and D’Amore’s Pizza, has been in the process of an upgrade, which includes a substantial amount of re-tenanting to what Bercu called more “service oriented” shops.

Body Rehab has been replaced with London Scott, a high-end European style hair salon, Malibu Capital Management will be replaced with Pilates Plus, an upscale Pilates studio, and The Plate, an organic health food restaurant, will replace Monrose Catering, which left last week and moved to Westlake Village.

Some of the retail shops are in the process of obtaining conditional use permits, Bercu said, but he is planning to have most of them in-house in the next few months.

The Malibu Sands plaza, another one of Bercu’s properties, currently houses Thai Dishes and Johnnie’s Pizza, among others. Bercu plans to upgrade and remodel the center, which he said looks “junky,” and give it a “facelift.”

The Dementia Head Shop, PCH Collective and Classic Tattoo have already left Malibu Sands, and have been replaced by Malibu Living, a furniture store, Topz Secret, a lingerie shop, and Canyon Beachwear, a swimwear store.

Bercu hopes the outward remodeling will start in September and said all tenants, with the exception of Pilates Plus, will have local Malibu owners.