Byline: Ambrosia Brody
REDONDO BEACH — The latest plan for a project that aims to revitalize the Redondo Beach waterfront was well received by the public and city officials during a Redondo Beach City Council meeting.
After five public meetings and outreach to the community, boaters and residents, CenterCal Properties returned to the city council March 2 with a vision for the harbor that incorporates the public’s ideas.
“I think this reflects very much the sense many of us had about you and your firm: the sincerity in working with the community, the fact that you are listening and are actually understanding the input you are receiving — and incorporating many of those aspects into your design,” said Mayor Mike Gin.
City council members approved city staff continuing to work with CenterCal Properties on the project that will revitalize about 15 acres of waterfront. Speakers applauded CenterCal Properties’ vision, which incorporates elements residents had requested.
“You have a wonderful community here,” said Fred Bruning, CEO of CenterCal. “We hope to make it into something that the community can be proud of for the next two or three generations.”
The project would potentially bring a boutique hotel, a 600- to 800-seat theater, a market similar to Pike’s Place market in Seattle and a mix of restaurants to the waterfront. A boat launch ramp is also included in the project, which will replace the hoist that has long-served vessels in the harbor. CenterCal representatives are in discussion with Joe’s Crab Shack to relocate the restaurant and construct the ramp on the restaurant’s current site.
City council members shared their support for Bruning’s idea to repurpose Seaside Lagoon as a natural estuary, as a way to create a more environmentally friendly body of water.
“Under its current configuration, we have run into (use-restrictive) environmental rules and water regulations,” said Councilman Steven Diels. “This is significant in that we can retain the lagoon and free ourselves from onerous environmental requirements.”
The saltwater lagoon now holds, chlorinates and dechlorinates seawater entering and exiting the lagoon. During its journey from the ocean to the lagoon and back again, the water is also circulated through the AES power plant, to cool its turbines.
As proposed, the opening of the lagoon would also provide direct access to the ocean, which residents identified as an area of importance during the public forums.
Speakers addressed their support for the project but raised concerns about the hotel obstructing views, the north parking structure and a proposed bridge.
“We really are pleased and excited about the natural estuary, and the fact that it will have a year-round use,” said Joan Riley, a resident and member of Residents for Appropriate Development (RAD). “We are hoping for more view corridors and less density.”
Residents and other harbor users will have an opportunity to provide input on the project during an additional public meeting, to be held June 13 at the Performing Arts Center.
The city council also voted to approve an extension of the city’s exclusive negotiating period with the development firm to June 25, when a more detailed concept plan will be presented to the council.
The $300 million project will be divided into three phases and include improvements to boating facilities, streetscapes and parks, renovation of the pier and the landing’s façade and the creation of a new hotel.
For more information, visit redondobeachwaterfront.org.