Major changes are in progress at Trancas Canyon Nursery and Sea Lily Malibu, where developers of the Trancas Country Market are preparing to rip out the old buildings and non-native trees to make way for a new space.
Debbi Stone, who manages the Trancas Canyon Nursery for owner Carlos Cabrera, has moved most of the plants, a fountain and a picnic table to the front of the shopping center. The business, which was operated for 28 years out of a mix of eclectic buildings at the back of the shopping center, is now being run out of a temporary trailer.
“It’s super hard," Stone said. "I’ve been there for 28 years. Every tree they are knocking down. It’s personal. It was bound to happen sooner or later. The shopping center has been funky forever.”
Caytlyn McCloskey, who has owned the Sea Lily Malibu florist shop for three years, is also in the process of moving plants and other merchandise to a temporary location within the shopping center on Pacific Coast Highway. The building that has housed her business will be bulldozed and replaced with a newer, bigger space.
“It’s sad. It’s like the Malibu legacy is being lost,” McCloskey said. “It’s like tearing up a family. We had to give our ducks, our cat away.”
The animals that lived at the nursery have been given a temporary home in Malibu after a notice was put up on Malibu Patch. They will be brought back to the nursery once the construction is completed.
“It’s never going to be the same,” McCloskey said. “… We called it the Malibu oasis. It’s totally no longer. They’re going to take out all the trees. It’s going to be a total makeover.”
A resident-led effort ensured their future at the shopping center after they received an eviction notice in 2011. The nursery now has a five-year lease.
The nursery was named as the Best Secret Garden in 2011.
Both Sea Lily and Trancas Canyon Nursery will remain open during the construction of the new buildings. The temporary locations are within the center on Pacific Coast Highway
“We’re just moving, moving, moving and then next week we will try to organize and hopefully make it not so messy,” Stone said.
She said the new location on PCH is better, because there is plenty of parking and no more stairs. There is a holding area behind the market for her stockpile of plants.
“We’ve had to remove everything off the property and they’re going in there and grade it. None of our buildings are really up to code because they have been there for so long,” Stone said.
She expects to be in the temporary location for up to five months while the work is being done.
“My buildings are super funky," Stone said. "One of them has termites. That’s cool. Build me new buildings. They’re helping us with this relocation. They’re being very generous and very helpful with us."
Stone said overall her space will be reduced by one-third, but she doesn't mind.
“We were there for so long, we really didn’t use most of our space like we could have," she said. "We had plenty of space we didn’t use properly. When you’re somewhere for a long period of time you get kind of complacent. You don’t notice that funky little thing over there and you go ‘Oh that’s charming.’ Well, no, it’s not charming. It’s funky."
According to plans submitted to the city of Malibu on Feb. 21, 2012, 25 western sycamores on the property that qualify as protected native trees will be protected.
A new, 1,050 square-foot building will be put in where Sea Lily used to operate. A new tenant has not been announced for the space.
Sea Lily will be moved to a new, 550 square-foot building, and the nursery will remain in the back corner. One of the smaller, existing buildings will be preserved and used to house the cash register.
Carla McCloskey, Caytlyn's mother, said she is sad to see the old buildings go, especially the parking lot that now takes up a good part of the old nursery.
"It's been shrinking, kind of like our lifestyle," Carla McCloskey said.
While the changes are difficult, Stone said she is trying to be optimistic about the future of the nursery.
“It’s nice when they come in and you’re starting with a blank slate,” she said.