Malibu market owned by Wal-Mart heiress gets retail makeover

Trancas Country Market
One of the retail sites at Trancas Country Market in Malibu

From the Beverly Center to Westfield’s Century City mall, many of L.A.’s shopping destinations are trying to reinvent themselves. The Trancas Country Market in Malibu, owned by Wal-Mart heiress Paige Laurie, can now be added to that list.

Laurie wants to attract upscale retail and dining tenants and add new seating areas to the Western Malibu shopping center, she said in a release. The center, which sits on a 17-acre nature sanctuary at Pacific Coast Highway and Trancas Canyon Road, is more known for its rural charm that for luxury fare in its current state. 

Robert Cohen, Rachel Rosenberg and Samantha Federman of the retail real estate firm RKF have been assigned to handle the new leasing efforts for the center.

“As we re-tenant the spaces, we are pursuing a cohesive mix of high-end retailers and designers, as well as artisans native to the trade area and retailers that cater to the community’s fitness enthusiasts, cyclists and beachgoers,” Cohen said.

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One of the first new tenants is Le Village Café, founded by French restaurateur Francois Clausse, which will open in spring.

While the Trancas center had a country vibe at its inception, the local shopping center made national news by way of TMZ  in 2014 when Paige Laurie — whose mother, Natalie Walton Laurie, and aunt Anne Walton Kroenke inherited a multibillion-dollar fortune when their father, Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton, died filed for divorce from her husband of five years, Patrick Bode Dubbert.

In addition to the divorce filings, Laurie filed a civil suit against Dubbert, accusing him of funneling money out of the Trancas market, which Laurie had financed.

Allegedly, Dubbert had hired a friend to co-manage the project. The buddies allegedly named themselves general contractors on the project in order to raise their monthly pay from $15,000 to $75,000. This was on top of the $250,000 a year Patrick was already being paid to monitor the project.