By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The Whole Foods and the Park complex at Civic Center Way in Malibu celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, June 12.
With Palisadian developer and Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff at the helm, the project has been in the works for more than 15 years—including time held up in court.
The project was a part of a legal battle after Malibu voters approved a formula retail ordinance, Measure R, and later voted down the project’s plans, which were, at the time, called Measure W.
Measure R has since been ruled illegal, allowing the project to break ground without voter appeal.
“After 10 years, we are under construction and, although delayed, the Whole Foods and The Park project will be better than we ever anticipated,” Soboroff told the Palisadian-Post when the project officially broke ground. “[We are] keeping folks off PCH by providing the goods, services and atmosphere unique to and close to Malibu.”
The Malibu Whole Foods market is 25,000 square feet and the complex features 4,000 square feet of outdoor seating and landscaping, including native trees, vertical gardens and three parks. A nod to the coexistence of old and new Malibu, there is parking for cars—both gas and electric—and a space to hitch horses.
The store employs approximately 140 full and part time team members.
“We are so excited to bring Whole Foods Market to Malibu,” Amy La Boube, store team leader, said. “We look forward to serving the community and providing our customers with the tastiest and highest quality natural and organic food available.”
Special features in the Malibu store include a fresh produce department with seasonal fruit and vegetables, in-store bakery, full-service butcher, seafood departments, prepared and specialty foods, and a Nékter Juice Bar, with coffee roasts from local partner Coffee Manufactory.
During the grand opening festivities, the first 300 customers received a goodie bag, and on June 27, 5% of the store’s net sales benefited the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu.
In addition to Whole Foods, the complex features 13,000 square feet of additional commercial retail space for 10 to 12 tenants.
It remains unclear when other stores in the complex will open, including the return of Howdy’s Restaurant, Blue Bottle Coffee, D’Amore’s, Sorenity Rocks, Barefoot Dreams, The Real Coconut, a second location for Malibu Eye Center Optometry and Door to Door Cleaners.
Several other tenants are yet to be named, including an ice cream shop, nail salon and hair salon.
Whole Foods’ hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.