Malibu Club in Lido Beach gets $10M makeover

The legendary Malibu Shore Club in Lido Beach has been getting a major renovation since 2009. Videojournalist: Patrick Whittle (Aug. 30, 2012)

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When Butch Yamali watched the Ramones perform at Malibu Shore Club in Lido Beach 30 years ago, it didn't occur to him that later in life he would be tasked with bringing the facility into the modern era.

Yamali -- then a teenager in Island Park, now president of Plainview-based Dover Hospitality and Catering Co. -- now runs Malibu, and he's in the middle of a $10 million transformation of the venerable beach club and resort.

"I hung out here as a kid," Yamali, 49, said while sitting in the club's new restaurant. "It gets you charged up to do more."

Hempstead Town owns Malibu -- where Frank Sinatra, U2, Billy Joel and many others have performed -- and gave Yamali the keys in 2009.

The resort, which includes more than 600 beach cabanas steps from the Atlantic Ocean, was in disrepair at the time, with holes in the roof and boarded-up concession stands. Since, he has spent about $7 million, adding nightly performances by local bands, a day camp, renovated tennis courts, stores, a clam bar and other eateries -- and more work is on the way, he said.

Yamali's changes have drawn mixed reviews from some resort regulars, who prefer the laid-back beach vibe to the hubbub of a busy nightclub. But Yamali says his improvements have extended the life span of the resort.

The next step is to determine the future of the resort's central nightclub building, which has been mostly shuttered for about 15 years, Yamali said. He said he is considering adding a sports or entertainment facility that will keep the club -- currently open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day -- functional all year.

"I can't wait to do something down here because of the reward for myself and because people are excited about it," he said.

Malibu opened as a private resort in the late 1940s, and was seized by Hempstead via condemnation in 1969, a town spokesman said. The facility has since housed a function hall and later a nightclub, which closed in the mid-1990s.

The town tapped Yamali to run the facility after issuing a request for a private operator in 2009. He is required to pay a $480,000 annual license fee, utilities and about $80,000 per year in lieu of taxes, and make $10 million in improvements over the 10-year lease, town officials said.

Yamali began by renovating the cabanas, pool, courts and grounds. He added the summer day camp, which has 300 campers and a 40-person waiting list, in 2009, and the restaurant, MaliBlue, last year.

Under Yamali's watch, the waiting list for cabanas -- which rent for $2,553 to $5,752 per season -- has grown from 1,750 to 3,500.

Donna Murphy of Oceanside, a four-year patron, said the additions have brought an unwanted increase in noise and foot traffic at the resort.

"The music and the restaurant have definitely made it less private," Murphy said.

But Judy Raynor, also of Oceanside, disagreed.

"It's live entertainment every night, who could not love it?" she said. "I'm here every day, even in the rain."

 

 

Through the years

 

1948: Malibu Shore Club opens.

1969: Hempstead Town acquires Malibu through condemnation.

1982: The Ramones play the club, joining a list that includes Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel, The Who, U2, Tito Puente, Culture Club, Billy Idol and Joan Jett.

1996: The venue's central nightclub closes.

2009: Hempstead Town licenses the operation to Butch Yamali, who is required to pay an annual fee and make $10 million in improvements over 10 years.

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