Cross Creek Ranch sits vacant, fully landscaped, and unoccupied for another season 

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The Cross Creek Ranch Malibu proposed retail center is shown closed off. The Malibu City Council passed a motion for a Settlement Agreement to allow development on the site. Photos by Samantha Bravo/TMT

Future unclear despite Pacific Equity, Cross Creek Ranch developer, securing a $135 million refinancing loan 

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times

Many Malibuites have been wondering what is happening with regard to the long-awaited opening of Cross Creek Ranch, the 122,324-square-foot retail and office development located between The Park at Cross Creek — where Howdy’s, Blue Bottle and Whole Foods are located — and the Malibu Library. The property was completed two years ago and, as The Malibu Times reported last summer, the city and the Pacific Equity Partners, the developer, settled possible litigation concerning the project’s compliance with a 2018 law pertaining to retail property in Malibu with more than 10,000 square feet, restricting the number of chain store lessees with ten or more locations. 

The law, entitled the Formula Retail Ordinance, Ordinance 431, limits the number of retail chain lessees to ensure Malibu has diverse retail venues as well as, very importantly, to ensure that such developments contain some local businesses. 

Since then, seasons have come and gone and … crickets. The fully developed parcel has sat vacant, fully landscaped, and unoccupied.

That may change fairly soon. Pacific Equity secured a $135,000 first-lien, five-year financing loan on March 11 — that significant sum should help to facilitate the grand opening of the property. 

Still … crickets — there is no word yet regarding what retailers, restaurants or offices will be housed in the 11-building complex. The Malibu Times’ efforts to reach Pacific Equities concerning whether any prospective tenants have commenced such activities have been unsuccessful as of press time. 

Cross Creek Ranch’s obtaining financing is not the only new development in the world of developments in Malibu.

Deja vu: Weintraub takes another shot at developing the parcel across from Pepperdine

Richard Weintraub is taking another shot at building a massive hotel in Malibu, according to plans his company submitted to the City of Malibu in January. Presumably, his strategy is based on the third-time’s-a-charm doctrine.

The contemplated project would rest on a site with three parcels at 4000 Malibu Canyon Road and would feature 181,000 square feet on a lot with 545,000 square feet of total development area. Weintraub seeks to have it include a health club and spa, exterior pool, meditation space, two restaurants and 98,000 square feet of “independent hotel suites,” accompanied by a multi-level parking structure.

Readers may recall that Weintraub unsuccessfully sought city approval to build a hotel on the site several years ago. 

No dice.

Subsequently, he attempted to obtain approval to build a high-tech cemetery or memorial park that could be navigated using GPS, where, in the words of former Mayor Skylar Peak, who was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times in 2014, “guests check in, but they can’t check out.” 

No dice. 

Whether Weintraub will face “no dice,” thrice will have to abide the planning approval process.

Up for auction: Encinal Canyon Bluff

“Offered for the first time collectively, ‘Encinal Canyon Bluff,’ 130-acre premier land development opportunity with unobstructed views in star-studded Malibu to sell to the highest bidder at inaugural live auction in Los Angeles this April,” conciergeauctions.com announced, noting the property is offered in partnership with Bill and Daniel Moss of Coldwell Banker Realty and that it was previously listed for $13.5 million. 

The posting continues, describing the property as a crown jewel high above the celebrity estates fringing the coast below, and stating, “Soaring high above the Encinal Bluffs and Broad Beach, ‘Encinal Canyon Bluff,’ is an incredible blank canvas consisting of three titles and offers endless potential for passionate and creative purchasers to leave their stamp on the Malibu community.” 

Of course, Malibuites who steadfastly adhere to the city’s Mission Statement which seeks to retain the rural character of Malibu, such is not the “stamp on the Malibu community” they think fits in this town. 

Reports and surveys for a more-than 10,000-square-foot home were designed by Tobias Architects and, according to the posting, “nine of the 11 city departments have signed off on the project.”

For those who subscribe to the old theory that one should invest in land because they’re not making any more of it, the auction bidding begins on March 28 at conciergeauctions.com and will end live at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on April 11.