No one will confirm plans for Pier 44, but the popular specialty grocer is seeking a liquor license

By Gary Walker

A 2015 conceptual rendering depicts a seaside Trader Joe’s at Pier 44 in Marina del Rey

Plans to include a waterfront Trader Joe’s with an outdoor dining patio, dedicated boat slips and adjacent water taxi stop in the impending redevelopment of Pier 44 was the talk of Marina del Rey in 2015. But ever since the Pier 44 project overcame a final challenge before the California Coastal Commission in June 2016, neither the project’s developer nor Trader Joe’s has said a word about it.

The truth may come out Tuesday, however, when the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning will consider an application by Trader Joe’s to sell alcohol for off-site consumption at “an under-construction approximately 13,500-square-foot market” at 4675 Admiralty Way (aka Pier 44), according to county documents. The public hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Sept. 18 at 320 W. Temple St., Room 150, in downtown Los Angeles.

John Carr, a spokesman for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, also confirmed this week that Trader Joe’s is seeking a liquor license for a Marina del Rey location.

The popular specialty grocer is still mum about its plans. In response to questions about the liquor license application, Trader Joe’s marketing specialist Rachel Broderick emailed: “While we absolutely appreciate the inquiry, we don’t have anything to confirm at this time.”

Michael Pashaie, whose company Pacific Marina Ventures LLC is developing Pier 44, declined to comment.

Pier 44 encompasses 10 acres of prime Marina del Rey property being rebuilt from the ground up, with five of those acres along the waterfront. Pre-construction activities began last year for a master plan that includes an 8,000-square-foot restaurant space, a new location for the West Marine boating supplies store, a new home for the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club, a boaters’ lounge with restrooms and showers, a boat repair shop, boat sales offices and a community room.

Retired L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, who represented Marina del Rey when the Pier 44 development was approved, said he isn’t sure what’s happening over there or why no one’s talking.

“The only thing that I can think of is they don’t want to attract attention. They’ve always been an aboveboard company and a good corporate citizen,” Knabe said.

Potential tenants in the marina tend not to submit applications frivolously, however, because there are fees associated with practically all submissions, said county planner Kevin Frankel.

“Also, we would not accept an application for anyone who does not have the right of access or the right to use the property in question,” Frankel said.