Dume Room doomed

Jeff Kantor Mary and Dixie Moore hold signs of protest against the closing of the Dume Room at Point Dume Village.

Point Dume Village owner Zan Marquis says he is opposed to having the 34-year-old bar in the center because it does not fit with his vision of the mall.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

A rally to save the Dume Room on Monday and a plea at the City Council meeting will likely do nothing to alter the fate of the bar that opened at Point Dume Village (then called Point Dume Plaza) in 1972. Zan Marquis, who purchased the center last year, confirmed in a Tuesday interview that the Dume Room, which has been on a month-to-month lease, will be forced out after Nov. 30.

"I'm opposed to the Dume Room being in our center," Marquis said. "If you look at most retail centers, you don't see bars. They're not good tenants for other types of stores. You just don't see them there."

Marquis said the Dume Room did not fit into his idea for what Point Dume Village should be. When asked what he meant by that, Marquis said, "Everyone who knows the Dume Room knows what I mean."

Marquis added, "We get complaints almost on a daily basis from other [Point Dume Village] tenants and customers. They [the Dume Room] are not as popular as they claim to be."

Mario Vitale, co-owner of the Dume Room, said he learned of the bar's fate two weeks ago. Since that time, some of the regulars and others who enjoy the bar, locally famous for its eclectic mix of customers, have been trying to save the Dume Room. Jeff Kantor, a deejay who often performs at the bar, is the head of a campaign he dubbed Operation Save The Dume Room.

"This is a huge blow to the local mix of people and social classes of Malibu, the so called flavor of the city," Kantor told the City Council Monday night. "This is also a huge blow to the vibrant musical scene Malibu now has."

Several other people also spoke to the council in support of the Dume Room. Radio deejay George Reyes said, "I have met all walks of people there, from blue-collar to millionaire."

Local activist Dixie Moore vowed never to buy anything from any of the businesses in Point Dume Village if the Dume Room closes.

The City Council members were sympathetic to the pleas of the supporters, but most of them said there was a limit to what they could do about it. "We are losing a lot of Malibu, but legally I don't see a way that we are going to be able to change what's about to take place," said Councilmember Sharon Barovsky, referring to the Dume's Room future and other changes in Malibu.

But she said she would support doing something to help the Dume Room, if there was something that legally could be done.

Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who has in the past proposed the drafting of an ordinance that would limit the number of retail chains in Malibu, said she would like the citizen committee currently working on an economic plan for the city to include a retail formula in the plan.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Jennings said he believed Malibu's resistance to commercial development has led to a situation where scarce commercial properties are sold at high prices, and the new owners need to bring in high-end businesses to pay the rent. But he said there was little the government could do about that.

"We have tried to designate certain particular types of uses for particular types of neighborhoods," Jennings said. "But it doesn't get much more specific than that. You can't dictate who gets a lease on a certain property."

The council asked City Attorney Christi Hogin to research whether there was anything the city could do, including the possibility of the Dume Room obtaining a landmark status.

Since Marquis took over Point Dume Village, several changes have occurred. Cooke's Family Market officially closed last week. The announcement that the grocery store would leave was made several months ago. It will be replaced by Pavilions, which is expected to open in the summer. Marquis said a 20-year lease has been signed.

Also, construction has begun on upgrading the center. The changes include stone facades and wainscoting on all the buildings. Walkways and common areas will be covered with granite flagstone. Additionally, two new fountains and an outdoor fire pit will be constructed in the central courtyard.

Marquis said he is currently working on renewing leases with Lily's Café, Zuma Video, clothing store Jamie and the pharmacy.

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