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Lumber yard goes upscale, Malibu debates what that means

April 19, 2009 | 10:50 pm

To understand the changes roiling once-sleepy Malibu, check out the new $25-million shopping center that finally opens Saturday at the junction of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road.

Shops such as James Perse and Tory Burch will sell $195 cargo pants and $310 sandals, along with gelato, cupcakes and dance lessons -- a far cry from the plywood and hammers sold at the Malibu Lumber Yard, which occupied the site for decades and will live on in the name of the shopping center.

At the Malibu Country Mart next door and Cross Creek Plaza across the street, rising rents and slumping sales are squeezing out mom-and-pop galleries, pet stores, hair salons and cobblers. Newer awnings trumpet names like Ralph Lauren and Juicy Couture.

The retailing ambience in Malibu, a city famed for its surfing and celebrities, is moving upmarket, and many residents rue the prospect of having shops with $200 T-shirts but no one to resole their shoes. Read the rest of the story here.

-- Martha Groves