Redondo Beach’s “The Waterfront” withdrawn from Coastal Commission

CenterCal’s King Harbor revitalization project, with pending lawsuits, appears to have hit the skids (for now).

REDONDO BEACH — Yet another page dramatically turns in the ongoing saga that is The Waterfront of Redondo Beach, as the El Segundo-based developer seeking to revitalize the King Harbor area has withdrawn its California Coastal Commission application.

It is unclear what the withdrawal means for the project overall, but CenterCal and Redondo Beach won’t be in front of the Coastal Commission as planned in August, leaving the massive revitalization project in limbo.

CenterCal CEO Fred Bruning confirmed his company’s application withdrawal from the Coastal Commission, stating the future of the project now rests with the courts.

“We have asked the Coastal Commission to withdraw our application,” Bruning told The Log in an email.

Bruning put the onus of the revitalization’s current status on the city of Redondo Beach, claiming it purposely avoided contact with CenterCal.

“The city appears to be hopelessly deadlocked, and will not even respond to our requests to address the [environmental impact] issues and the site plan,” Bruning said. “It is hard to carry on a conversation when one Party is not acting in good faith. It looks like the courts will have to resolve this.”

Coastal Commission staff reportedly sent letters to the city of Redondo Beach and CenterCal’s executive team, requesting the project be withdrawn.

Noaki Schwartz, spokesperson with the Coastal Commission, confirmed the quasi-judicial agency issued letters to both parties.

The Log reached out to Redondo Beach city staff but did not hear back from them prior to deadline.

There is no timeline as to when the state court will issue a judgment on the matter. CenterCal had sued the city of Redondo Beach, hoping to prevent a voter approved ballot initiative from taking effect.

The ballot initiative was Measure C, which was approved by Redondo Beach voters in March 2017. Measure C would alter the city’s zoning requirements to restrict the size of waterfront development. At issue is whether CenterCal’s The Waterfront, which had been in the works several years before Measure C was placed in front of voters, would be subject to the new slow growth requirements.

Both sides have been embroiled in a legal battle ever since. The matter appeared to be on a path for settlement when CenterCal and the city of Redondo Beach met with the Coastal Commission earlier this year. A public hearing was scheduled for August, but CenterCal’s application withdrawal certainly means the Coastal Commission is out of the picture, for now.

The developer’s decision to withdraw The Waterfront’s application from the Coastal Commission process means it is now up to the legal system to determine whether or CenterCal will have a say in redeveloping the King Harbor area.

CenterCal’s project was estimated to cost as much as $400 million to build. The plan proposed to bring several new amenities to the King Harbor area, such as new restaurants and retail shops, a boutique hotel, cinemas, creative office space and a public market hall.

Boaters hoped the revitalization plan would have brought a boat launch ramp, which has not existed in the area for decades, to Redondo Beach.

Opponents of The Waterfront called the CenterCal project an oversized mall on the sea.

Photo Credit: Parimal M. Rohit

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