Trancas Shopping Center Is Listed for Sale
• Local Partner Hopes to Attract New Investors to Project
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Trancas Country Market, a shopping center that includes proposed expansion plans, is on the market for $20 million, according to one of its owners.
Dan Bercu announced this week the property has been listed so that he can buy out his existing capital partners, keep the property and recapitalize with new investors. He indicated that partner Jim Rosenfield also wants to stay on.
“I have listed the property for sale to accomplish this objective,” he wrote in an email to dozens of supporters.
In an interview with the Malibu Surfside News, Bercu said the property is listed with Coldwell Bank and is for sale for the same amount he and his partners paid for the small center located at the corner of Trancas Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway.
He declined to say how much he has invested in the shopping center. Bercu also is an owner of two other small Malibu centers.
He did say the partnership has spent close to $5 million over the past four years on the investment. Chicago-based La Salle Investments want out because of the costs related to delays, he said.
Bercu in his email attributes those delays to the Malibu West board appeal and Hans Laetz, a neighbor of the shopping center who has appealed center expansion approvals to the California Coastal Commission.
“The Coastal Commission will not hear the appeal until June at the earliest. Laetz has also promised to file another lawsuit should his Coastal appeal be dismissed,” Bercu added.
“As a direct result of the Malibu West board appeal, the [Hans] Laetz appeal, and the Laetz lawsuits, my existing capital partners have ‘had enough.’ The appeals, lawsuit and delays have cost the partnership millions of dollars in losses. The capital partners want ‘out’ and I want to stay ‘in,’” Bercu added.
When asked to comment, Laetz said it is not about him. “It is about the project.” He noted that in the lawyers’ response to his appeal filing at the Coastal Commission, Laetz’s name is mentioned 49 times “I hope the next buyer of Trancas Lagoon does better due diligence than the last purchaser and investigates what can and cannot be built on the two lots straddling a coastal estuary.”
After several false starts and delays by the city’s planning department four years ago, the planning commission approved the project last year after Bercu reduced its size and scope.
Those approvals were appealed by the Malibu West homeowners association, which failed to convince the city council to overturn the commission’s approval.
Laetz has appealed the council’s approvals to the Coastal Commission, which originally scheduled a hearing for March, but it has been postponed.