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In Defense of Zan Marquis

What makes a good landlord?

I attended the rally for Pt. Pizza on Friday. I was at the corner and I was lending my support.  Many people there were supporting different things; I was first and foremost, supporting HyeSong and her employees for her dedication and committment to Pt. Dume for all these years. They are good people and they deserve this kind of farewell. I wasn't sure what to think about D'Amores or Zan Marquis, the landlord. It certainly wasn't clear to me what the objectives were regarding the non renewal, nor did I know what this meant for other Village tenants like Lily's, etc..  I was hesitant to criticize either D'Amores or Mr. Marquis with what I knew at the time.

This Sunday morning I got some answers and a different perspective. I had a chance to meet with Mr. Marquis in front of Savory for a brief, but very informative conversation. First, let me say that on first impression Mr. Marquis came off as a very reasonable and thoughtful gentlemen, certainly not the lampooned caricature that we have been hearing and reading about over the last weeks.  He was definitely not "Mr. Potter" from "It's a Wonderful Life".

He told me, and some others I spoke with corroborated this, that Pt. Dume Village was a very different place when he purchased it. When he bought the Village he inherited the "Dume Room". Whatever the original intent was, the "Dume Room" according to various accounts, became a very unsavory (no pun intended) establishment. Among other things, there were drug deals, fights, inappropriate sexual activities, etc., that took place in or around the "Dume Room" on a regular basis. Windows were broken and the safety of the area could not be secured.

The Chinese restaurant had received a "B" rating for it's cleanliness and after further inspection it was deemed to be unfit for operation. Mr. Marquis made the point that he has a sincere interest in making the village a clean, safe place to frequent. He put hundreds of thousands of dollars into Savory restaurant tenant improvements and recruited "Paul" (the chef) in order to facilitate a high quality, unique and healthy, food establishment that Malibu could be proud of. I think he has done that with Savory. He reluctantly got involved financially (with Savory) after a partner backed out but he is presently trying to relinquish any financial stake in Savory.

He told me that he accepted Subway's application after watching the space sit vacant for 3 years. He was offered a 10 year lease that he felt he couldn't pass up given the string of empty businesses in the Village. Out of business necessity he signed on with Subway.

He went to Lily's soon after purchasing the Village and felt like some upgrades were needed in order to bring the restaurant to the standards that he envisioned.  He asked the owner's at Lily's to comply and they agreed to make the necessary physical changes to the property.  

He claims that the lease with D'Amores has nothing to do with money. The money would have been there whether Pt. Pizza stayed or whether it left. With regards to Pt. Pizza, he stated that he made several appeals to encourage Pt. Pizza to change their product to something he deemed "more healthy". As a landlord, that is his prerogative though some might disagree with the importance of his aims. After many efforts Mr. Marquis was convinced that Pt. Pizza was not interested in complying with the "improvements" that Mr. Marquis had suggested. It was at this point that the decision was made to terminate the lease.

We all (or most of us) loved Pt. Pizza and many of us are sad to see it go. It is important to note that change is often disturbing, but is Mr. Marquis really deserving of the villification that he is receiving?, or is he just a scapegoat for our frustration at seeing a longtime local business close. Some have even made personal attacks against him.  

Has anyone noticed the new seating throughout the village and the suspended shade visors that make the area so much more pleasant to visit. I know that I spend much more time there since those additions. The place used to be scorching hot all the time and there was no place to sit, or find relief from the sun. Mr. Marquis brought these improvements into the Village. There is also no question that the entire center feels safe and secure.  

I hope this blog is received in the spirit of trying to tell the "rest of the story" from the POV of Mr. Marquis and some others who remember the, (not so) "good old days".

I just hope that everyone takes the time to see the larger picture. It is easy to take a cynical view of the motives of a landlord; there certainly are examples of unpleasant landlords in the world. Surely something has been lost with the departure of Point Pizza, but in the overall perspective, perhaps many of us can say that much has been gained. Only time will tell if Mr. Marquis' vision for the mall is "good, bad, or ugly" but it doesn't appear like there is presently enough evidence to convict.

Three cheers for Pt. Pizza...!  We wish you the best!!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

hellwood October 16, 2012 at 02:12 AM
i agree, Trancas Point Pizza would be a HUGE success! Lily's should split too! Then the center can be renamed "Zan's Elite Ghost Town"
Jody Kern October 16, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Hey Bob, I know the Dume room had it's problems but if you ask me...a kid that grew up skateboarding outside of it whose friends' parents went there and worked there, the bar that sponsored my little league team when I was 9 years old...every neighborhood should have its bar. That was ours. It was good, bad, ugly, and pretty damn special. I would never apologize to Zan or anyone for being a surfing, skating, drum playing, slam dancing blue collar Malibu local that likes to shoot pool after work once in awhile and partake in jam sessions in my favorite neighborhood in my favorite bar with my lifelong brothers and sisters. I don't give a flying landlord what Zan thinks Malibu should be. I resent it entirely and will not comply.
J. Flo October 16, 2012 at 02:19 AM
They cannot afford to move. Citizens need to get real.
hellwood October 16, 2012 at 02:28 AM
what about a roach coach? the city doesnt seem to care about the junk truck and the other roach coach? that could even be more lucrative? no rent, no lease, just a nice locally supported mobile pizza shop. I wouldnt mind a point pizza catering truck showing up at westward after some surf
Jody Kern October 16, 2012 at 02:29 AM
As far as Zan being on "legal terra firma", ethically he is on terra sketchy, and that's giving him credit. People legally screw each other over 1,000,000 times a day, doesn't make it right. The whole point from the get-go, before we start talking about what he wants for his property and having a right etc...I do not care what he wants if he's going to buy in and then become a local business exterminator and social dictator.
Cece Stein October 16, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Good point Keegan...duly noted. Once again, looks like the City ignored yet another retail complex and the need to protect local businesses who want to go in after the pre-construction "negotiate now while it's still affordable" phase.
Pamela Duke-van Ierland October 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
why in the world should any one suggest pt. pizza move to trancas so damores can take their spot, thats insane and the idea of it, just plain wrong... i for one cant wait for trancas to open so i can do my shopping there and never have to set foot on zans west beverly hills property . he should not expect and certinally not deserve any local malibu loyalty. deserve
hellwood October 16, 2012 at 03:59 AM
see ya at D'Amores on Friday for the protest?
Cece Stein October 16, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Suggestions lead to solutions Pam. I speak from experience with two commercial retail leases under my belt in this town. The more amenable,understanding and generous being Mr. Koss ( Malibu Country Mart ) believe it or not. If Pt. Pizza can't afford to move, then fight the good fight - however it would have probably had more impact had D'Amore's not already agreed to a lease. Morally Marquis will have some karma to deal with no doubt. Legally it could be a mess to undo what has already been done. It's unfortunate Pt. Pizza didn't spread the word sooner. This battle is going to be a difficult one for them to win under the circumstances.
William Baile October 16, 2012 at 07:30 AM
I'm almost ashamed to admit I'd never eaten pizza at Pt Pizza before, that is until this evening, some friends invited me along and having heard all the buzz about this place intrigued me. I found the owner to be a very nice woman, we made our order and sat outside while waiting for our pie to be made. As we sat talking about these going's on, I (being from New Jersey) made the observation that I had tried D'Amores pizza, and while it was good, I didn't like the crust, it was a passable pizza, that said, if you came up in Jersey and have had pizza there, then you know it's a tall order to match that taste, etc. (cont'd)
William Baile October 16, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Our pizza was now ready and I couldn't wait to dig in and try it, I have to say, this was a good pizza, when I came up, we didn't have all the things that are available today to put on a pizza, it was either cheese or pepperoni and cheese, either way the pies of my youth were always a welcome treat and filling, we didn't worry about what all the ingredients had in them, they were just plain good. I am grateful to my friends for inviting me along to eat with them, Pt Pizza is very good. I couldn't help but think of how the landlord might request an establishment to change their menu's ingredient's, I mean...pizza is...pizza, it'd be like him leasing to Mc Donald's and telling them they have to change their menu. It just didn't add up, what the hell difference does it make what's in a pizza? A pizza is basically junk food, I know L.A. is 'health conscience' and that's fine, if they don't like or want pizza, go somewhere else. To add insult to injury, Zan is moving in ANOTHER pizza joint...go figure. Sorry Bob...this smells like greed no matter how you 'slice' it.
Bob Perkins DDS October 16, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I will say this one last thought....a thought that I gathered as a result of this polite and civil discourse that has been going on in this thread. Thank you or that. If I were Mr. Marquis and I was coming to the conclusion that I wanted an "improved", or "more organic" product (whatever), I would have contacted Hye Song and told her that I had made the decision to lease the property to someone else (unless) the desired changes (stated explicitly) are made within a set period of time. This would have given Hye Song a clear "line in the sand" and she would have known the stakes. As far as I know, this didn't happen....but, there is a lot that I don't know. And lastly, we can disagree with how the landlord is operating the village but my instinct was that Mr. Marquis is sensitive to public, constructive, commentary. If the right opportunity were in play, I bet he (or a representative) might sit down with some of you and listen to your concerns.... ...just a hunch.
Pamela Duke-van Ierland October 16, 2012 at 02:34 PM
i will be protesting, along with countless others, at damores this friday. there are consequences for tbeir backroom dealings...
Pamela Duke-van Ierland October 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM
oh fyi, i will be tbere EVERY week, until they do the ethical thing and stop trying to steal a womans business.i started the protest against pet headquarters, protested them for 8 months solid, and SHUT THEM DOWN, because they too were being unethical.they were selling puppy mill dogs, while telling their customers they werent. liars so, i am in this for the long hsul...
Charles Lee October 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM
That is a good point Keegan, but there are even more costs than people realize. Who knows when Trancas will actually open? There are always delays with construction and it could be a year or more with no income for Hye Song. Also, there is a big difference from building out a completely empty space vs taking over an existing space. My friend built out a space, in a location much less expensive than Malibu, and spent over $200,000 just to install plumbing, electrical, and a grease trap. That does not even include permits, equipment, cabinets, counter tops, finishes, furniture, etc. How many years does she have left to operate a business 7 days a week 11 hours a day. She would never make a return on her investment even if she could afford the cost and she cannot afford it anyway.
J. Flo October 16, 2012 at 07:02 PM
FACTS< FACTS<FACTS. Where are they? The effort to speak with Zan Marquis has been ongoing for weeks, his office has been visited numerous times. Has he responded to requests over and over again to speak with locals? No. Don't take those instincts of Vegas. You'll go broke. Enough already. People, please go to Point Pizza on Facebook or visit them in person. This is someone's livelihood, their 24 years of blood, sweat and tears - they deserve facts coming out. Please go to the SOURCE.
Bob Perkins DDS October 16, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Jae I approached him as he was walking through the village. I introduced myself and asked if I could speak with him for a minute about the Pt. Pizza issue. He said, "sure", and he invited me to take a seat with him in front of Savory where we could talk more privately. Those are the "facts" of my encounter. Those are the only facts I know, firsthand. I am sure there are a lot of other "facts".
J. Flo October 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
In all due respect, Bob, you just wrote a veryyyyyyyyy long article without getting the facts from any other person in it other than one - Zan Marquis. Did you speak to the owners of the Dume Room? Chinese Restaurant? Lily's? Point Pizza? Did you sit down and speak to even one of those people before writing this in order to present a fair and accurate picture? If not, why not?
BOOGER October 16, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Right on Keegan! I couldn't agree more!
BOOGER October 16, 2012 at 08:10 PM
The Dume Room was Just as much Malibu as Point Pizza. All The fights and other activities that happened there was how Malibu was. A bunch of surfers trying to make a living and having fun, that was real malibu, not 10 dollar smoothies and organic restaurants at every corner.
Bob Perkins DDS October 16, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Jae- I am not a reporter nor am I pretending to be one. I don't have a responsibility to interview everyone who ever lived in Point Dume in order to voice an opinion. I don't think that is the standard for blogging on the Patch. I was presenting my observations based on a very topical conversation I had with Mr. Marquis and even longer conversations with others who remember vividly the ambiance in the village during the "Dume" years. I don't, nor do I ever, claim to be the source of all wisdom on this, or any other matters. I feel quite sure that you aren't the sole "source", either. The irony is that I think I was actually holding one of your signs at the rally on Friday. I don't regret being a participant in the rally, nor do I regret the article.
J. Flo October 16, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Yes, there is no mandated "responsibility" - to attempt to talk to everyone involved before this blog voiced an opinion on them. No required responsibility - to present unbiased viewpoints, speak on behalf of only one person on a topic that has the repercussions of destroying a woman's livelihood without doing due diligence of studying all the facts, even simply reading the facts that have been posted on the Patch, talking to all the people involved and presenting and a fair, truthful view. No responsibility to speak to "everyone" - or even Lily's, Dume Room, Chinese Restaurant, Pt. Pizza - four people, four businesses this blog states opinions on. A blog telling people to see the "larger picture" while presenting one tiny corner of it. People in this community didn't have the "responsibility" to speak to Point Plaza and give them equal opportunity to explain, visit their offices time and again to make efforts for communication BEFORE speaking out. Or go to D'Amores Pizza to hear their side, read their views BEFORE rallying. But they took responsibility anyway. Because it was right. I sincerely hope that this community remembers, that beyond ourselves, this is a woman's livelihood, her ability to pay for her home, take care of her family and to live that is at great stake.
Cece Stein October 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Can someone please explain to me why this comment was deleted? EVERYONE deserves a voice. sean also commented on In Defense of Zan Marquis. "Whoever is protesting for pizza is a clown. do you know there are wars, slavery, genocide, gmo foods, fed reserve, and so many other things to protest? what a joke !!"
Jessica E. Davis October 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Cece, not sure what you are talking about, but comments are not being deleted by me, the editor. People do have the option to delete their own comments.
Cece Stein October 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Doubt that happened - the "flag as inappropriate" settings are obviously in clear violation of freedom of speech rights.
Bob Perkins DDS October 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Jae You have been a friend of mine. I always applaud your passion. In spite of the tone of your last post I wont assume that you think I am the problem here. It is also hard, from your tone, to believe that you have read my posts on this blog.
J. Flo October 17, 2012 at 02:01 AM
You stated your opinions in a very prominent blog and I offered my opinion of it. One nice aspect of friends and neighbors, it being able to agree to disagree - and then go grab a slice of pizza.
Nick Adams November 09, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Dear Bob, Do you plan to have another meeting with Zan outside of Savory now? Would love to hear your justifications on this.
Bob Perkins DDS November 09, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Nick- I don't have any "justification" for anything or anyone specific. My blog was about seeing the whole picture....looking at the forest and not just the trees. I wasn't acting like I knew the details of anything. I didn't even say that I supported Zan with regard to the Pt. Pizza issue. I will say that, with respect to Savory, I feel it is presumptuous of people to act like they know what is going on with everything. I liked Savory and frequented it quite often but I don't know any details about the lease agreement, etc.. It is all too easy to just blame the landlord. I, personally, would never embrace any callous or unethical behavior on the part of the landlord or the tenant. Any flaws he may have should be balanced against the big picture....that is the way it should be for anyone in our society, in my opinion.
john harris April 17, 2013 at 07:07 AM
Thank you for taking the time to talk to Mr. Marquis. He is a very busy man but has a heart and is concerned with making a better and safer place for all. He's not perfect by any means from someone who has known him for a very long time. There are many who are much greedier and callous than him.

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