La Paz Ranch

Location

Malibu, CA

Owner

Malibu Development Company LLC

Architect

Marmol Radziner

Project Size

112,000 SF

MATT’s team is outfitting a vacant 18-acre space with a new office, retail and restaurant center behind the Malibu Lumber Yard, also built by MATT. The rear area will consist of three two-story buildings for retail and restaurant tenants, a middle parcel will house five retail buildings above a 250-car subterranean garage and the front of the site will feature two restaurants. The rectilinear wood and steel framing gives the buildings a contemporary but rustic aesthetic, and the pedestrian-friendly layout will foster a vibrant community feeling as locals and visitors gather there to work, shop and dine.

The current stage of construction involves clearing the slightly sloped land to balance the site. Groundwater presence from Malibu Creek’s watershed has required the team to dig six feet below the foundation level of the underground parking lot. Once the team hits water during the garage’s excavation, they will rig a pump and filter through the area, piping water from tanks to a storm drain. After the garage structure has gone up, the building will be heavy enough to support the hydrostatic pressure, allowing the team to turn off the pumps.

Concerns over potential liquefaction, which occurs when more water than earth is present beneath a site and risks causing a building to move, have also prompted installation of a Tensar geogrid product that works by decreasing differential settlement. The plastic geogrid mesh will go down at the bottom of the building pad, six feet below where the concrete will be poured, then it will be backfilled, then another geogrid mat will be placed eight inches above that layer, followed by a six-foot pad of compacted earth.

Given the Ranch’s half-mile proximity to eight prominent Native American sites, the city of Malibu has ordered that either a Native American monitor or archaeologist be present during the entire excavation process in case the crew encounters any artifacts or human remains. An ornithologist is also on hand to consult about the presence of nesting birds and trees.