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Malibu Development Since 1991
Malibu changed fundamentally during the 1990s as new families moved in, with children. This was a trend that changed the politics of Malibu in the decade after the City was achieved. In 1990, there had been roughly 1,000 children in the Malibu public schools. By 1998, there were more than 2,200 children in the public school system, and the number was growing. What had essentially been a one-issue town -- development -- had now become a multi-issue town. Also, while the population of children was growing, so was the population of seniors. Malibu began to have serious facility needs, like school seats, a teen center, a community center, a senior center and ballfields, all of which cost money and many of which require either bond issues or compromises with developers.
The Malibu Colony Plaza began construction in 1988 with the opening of Hughes Market by then-owner Reco Land Corp., which was headed by Roy E. Crummer. Construction continued into 1989, with the full plaza opening in the summer. That year, Reco Land sold the plaza to Malibu Bay, which then was headed by Jerry Perenchio and the Konheim family. At that time, Malibu Bay also bought its other local properties, which were previously owned by Reco Land. In 1999, the Konheims sold their share of Malibu Bay to Perenchio. Billionaire developer and sports team owner E. Stanley Kroenke has purchased the Malibu Colony Plaza from the Malibu Bay Co. in June 2005.
In June of 2000, the newly remodeled HOWS Market opened in Trancas in what had been the former Trancas Market and before that, Alexander's Market.
New, classier restaurants continued to open in Malibu, led by celebrity chef Woldgang Puck's Granita opened in Malibu Colony Plaza in Auguast 1991, fancifully decorated by his wife Barbara Lazaroff. It was the first high end restaurant in Malibu, catering to the nearby Colony as well as drawing from the wide range of customers who visit Malibu. Jeanette and Rikki Farr opened Bambu in the Country Mart in 1993 with Chef Lisa Stalvey. As is typical with restaurants, Malibu favorites were lost or revamped regularly. Bambu was replaced in 1999 by another fine restaurant, Nobu Malibu. The popular PierView Café suddenly closed in November 2003, purchased by software billionaire Larry Ellison to be replaced by Nobu Malibu in 2010 and Nikita in 2013. Granita itself closed in April 2005. Net of all the changes, around 100 restaurants exist in Malibu where there was once only the Las Flores Inn.
Development slowed during the 1990s due to a general downzoning after Malibu became a city. Delays due to permit issues with City of Malibu and the termoil of Malibu's struggles with the Coastal Commission made it hard for projects to proceed. Residential property was stable to declining in value until after 2000 when a strong upward trend resumed. Residential properties that were developed in this period went for larger homes and higher density on existing plots while open space was very difficult to develop. Some projects did proceed such as the Malibu Bella Mar apartments on Cavalleri Road that were built in 1993, converting to condos in 2005.
By the mid-2000s, Coastal Commission issues were somewhat resolved and Coastal Development Permits were again being issued, often with restrictions and limitations of original plans. Some projects, like the Forge Lodge, a proposed small bed and breakfast along Solstice Creek (at PCH and Corral Canyon Road), have been in planning for many years and cannot get over the hurdles. In the case of Forge Lodge, those hurdles include vigorous opposition by the Sierra Club.
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