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Malibu Lumber Yard

Landscape Performance Benefits

Environmental

  • Retains and treats the first 3/4” of rainfall (85th percentile for 24-hour storm events) using a system of permeable surfaces, gravel beds, and bioswales, which eliminate the need for a conventional drainage system.
  • Removes an average of 80-94% of Total Suspended Solids (TSS) in stormwater runoff.
  • Treats 100% of wastewater in an onsite biomembrane reactor water treatment system.
  • Eliminated potable water use for irrigation by using reclaimed water, and reduced the amount of water needed by 66% through careful plant selection.
  • Helps reduce the urban heat island effect by replacing 70% of the asphalt on the site with concrete permeable pavers, which have 7 times the reflectance (albedo). 19 trees also help by providing shade.

Economic

  • Commands rents that are 5% higher than those in surrounding retail centers.

At a Glance

  • Designer

    ValleyCrest Design Group

  • Project Type

    Courtyard/Plaza
    Retail

  • Former Land Use

    Greyfield

  • Location

    3939 Cross Creek Road
    Malibu, California 90265

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  • Climate Zone

    Warm-summer Mediterranean

  • Size

    2.7 acres

  • Budget

    $5 million for design/build, softscape, hardscape and irrigation work; $24 million total budget

  • Completion Date

    2009

Malibu Lumber Yard, once the site of a hardware store and lumber yard, is now a unique 30,000 square foot upscale retail redevelopment and iconic, art-driven destination for all ages in the commercial center of Malibu. Developed in a city with strict environmental regulations regarding water quality and stormwater runoff, this mall is equipped to treat 100% of the stormwater and wastewater on the site,contributing to the protection of the nearby estuary habitat and surf destinations. With a focus on water conservation, stormwater treatment and reduction of heat island effect, the project communicates a clear message that sustainable design is comfortable, beautiful and fun.

  • Precast concrete pavers, planters, permeable asphalt and a courtyard deck built over gravel beds reduce the impervious surface area of the site by 75%, even with the addition of new building area.
  • A system of two bioswales totaling 9,990 sf and 45,000 sf of 12-inch thick gravel beds filter runoff from the roof, deck, and parking areas before it is discharged to the municipal system. 
  • Rain water falling on the rooftop is directed through a roof drain to under the courtyard deck onto the grade that slopes into the bioswale.
  • Building wastewater is processed in an onsite biomembrane reactor water treatment system, which can treat up to 17,000 gallons a day to a level that far exceeds applicable water quality standards.
  • Plants selected for the site include California native plants, succulents and other low and extremely low water-use plants that require 1/3 as much water as a typical plant palette.
  • The irrigation system tailors water supply by hydrozone to ensure that plants receive only as much water as they need to grow in a healthy manner.
  • 100% of water used for irrigation is reclaimed water purchased from the Las Virgines Municipal Water District.
  • Light-colored permeable pavers, natural-colored permeable concrete and planted areas reduce the heat island effect and energy needed for building air-conditioning.
  • Pau lope wood, an FSC-certified sustainable Brazilian hardwood, was used for the 9,990-sf main courtyard deck and walkways.

Challenge

Situated adjacent to the Malibu Creek watershed terminus, the combined program and project site presented a tremendous challenge to address water quality requirements in an evolving regulatory environment. The City of Malibu had enacted a moratorium on new development  to solve waste water and runoff water quality issues in critical habitat areas. Though Malibu Lumber Yard was considered a redevelopment, it was held to much higher scrutiny on water management because of the regulatory environment during the design, entitlement and construction of the project.

Furthermore, Malibu Lumber Yard was developed in partnership with the City of Malibu following a rigorous RPF process. The sustainable design and water management concepts proposed were a requirement to be an eligible partner and ultimately won the development team the project. The City of Malibu has extensive requirements for treating wastewater and stormwater and operates its own local Coastal Program under the supervision of the California Coastal Commission.

Solution

To meet the various regulatory requirements, the team set out to establish Malibu Lumber Yard as a fully self-contained water management project. This involved incorporating innovative water conservation measures, including a low water-use plant palette, low-flow faucets and toilets and waterless urinals, as well as the use of municipal reclaimed water. All project wastewater is treated using an advanced onsite wastewater treatment system. Stormwater and site runoff are captured and filtered in a system of bioswales and gravel filtration beds under paving before being discharged to the municipal system.

While the treated water is not used onsite, the wastewater is being used to recharge the adjacent Legacy Park ground water as a temporary condition. In the future, the plan is to use the treated wastewater to supplement Legacy Park’s irrigation and water treatment programs and redirect all treated storm water that is currently feeding into the municipal system to the water treatment lagoons at Legacy Park.

  • The permeable paving was more costly than traditional asphalt or cast in place concrete (70,000 square feet at $2.00 per square foot premium), which was offset by the savings of what would have required a conventional drainage system and CDS unit (approximately $150,000).
  • The use of reclaimed water reduced irrigation cost by 25%. The cost of potable water in Malibu is $1.58 per unit and reclaimed water is $1.22 as of November 23, 2010.
  • Additional irrigation cost savings of $332 per year are attributed to low water use plant material selected for the site, which lowered annual irrigation needs by 203,000 gallons or 66%.
  • An initial attempt to use decomposed granite as a permeable parking surface failed as dust and mud were too difficult to contend with and the center’s retailers were getting too many complaints from Malibu residents. It had to be replaced with a combination of permeable interlocking pavers and permeable concrete.
  • Some sustainable strategies were not acceptable to the fire department in this extremely high fire area. Green roofs and green walls were rejected because vines or other plantings directly on building walls are considered fuel for wildfires and are prohibited due to the dry climate and adjacency of the site to the Santa Monica Mountains, an extremely high fire zone. The green roof concept was replaced with high albedo roofing material.

Project Team

Co-Developers: Richard Sperber and Richard Weintraub
Executive Architect: RTK Architecture
Landscape Architect: ValleyCrest Design Group
Landscape Contractor: ValleyCrest Landscape Development, Inc.
General Contractor: Matt Construction
Lighting Design: Lightvision Architectural Lighting Design
Civil Engineering: Psomas

Structural Engineering: Specialty Structural Services, Inc.

Role of the Landscape Architect

ValleyCrest provided landscape design-build services for softscape, hardscape and irrigation work. From concept and theme development through installation, the approach emphasized environmental responsibility, water conservation and innovative on-site stormwater and waste water management.

Topics

Stormwater management, Water conservation, Water quality, Other water, Temperature & urban heat island, Other economic, Bioretention, Blackwater treatment, Efficient irrigation, Native Plants, Permeable paving

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