Redondo Beach News: Waterfront Revitalization, Galleria Mall and AES

Redondo Beach Real Estate News

As a Redondo Beach home owner and a full time professional Realtor who does a lot of business in 90277-90278, I've been watching three situations that can not only dramatically remake our city but also substantially increase property values. And I think we all like it when our home's value goes up.

The three projects I am watching are:

  • Galleria Mall
  • CenterCal Waterfront
  • AES

Galleria Mall

One year after Nordstrom made its new home in the Del Amo Fashion Center and removing taking with it hundreds of thousands of sales tax dollars, the owner of Redondo Beach’s South Bay Galleria is still working on plans for a large-scale revamp with outdoor retail, apartments and a hotel.

A draft EIR for the revitalization of the 30-acre mall on Hawthorne Boulevard was slated to be released this month, but designers have gone back to the drawing board in response to concerns from homeowners about the potential impacts of a towering apartment building planned for a parking lot on Kingsdale Avenue.

Though the EIR will study up to 650 residential units and 224,464-square-feet of net new retail development on what are now acres of surface parking lots, under grounding the cars, Forest City intends to pursue 480 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Which, truth be known are sorely needed in the South Bay.

According to presentations, most of the housing would be located in a 65-foot-tall apartment building on Kingsdale Avenue across from Kohl’s. The rest would go on the second floor of a new retail complex in place of the Macy’s building, which would open to the courtyard. Macy’s would relocate to the former Nordstom space.

One or two new department stores would be built on the east side of the mall toward Hawthorne Boulevard and a 150-room hotel is envisioned for the north side.

A smaller plan with only the Kingsdale Avenue residential building brings the number of apartments down to 298, keeps the Macy’s building and pushes a slightly smaller hotel to the northeast corner.

In a press release, Forest City said the reinvented Galleria “will create a unique and exciting gathering place that reinforces the vibrancy of Redondo’s coastal lifestyle and boosts this critical economic engine” and “combine expanded retail and dining venues with open-air promenades, a hotel and residences that are woven into the fabric of the neighborhood.” Quite "sales-y" sounding to me.

The company has been in talks with the Los Angeles Air Force Base about possibly housing active-duty personnel and aerospace professionals at the site. That's a decent idea and all of the apartments would be market-rate.

With a regional transit center and future Green Line extension planned for the area, the Galleria has been eyed by the city as an opportunity to increase its rental housing supply.

Unfortunately though, building a high-density development is a bad idea in a neighborhood where drivers often wait through more than one traffic light to make turns at some major intersections.

Redondo Beach Waterfront

The CenterCal project on the South Redondo waterfront is the biggest wild card right now even if you live in North Redondo.

If you are not familiar with what's going on with this, the project will add 19 new buildings to the waterfront’s 36 acres. Among the project’s major focuses are a market hall, designed to be reminiscent of “classic wharf-like commercial architecture”, a five-story, 45-foot tall parking structure at the corner of Harbor Drive and Portofino Way, and a redesign of Seaside Lagoon, which would open the park to the ocean. The project would convert acres of surface-level asphalt parking into “substantially improved” public gathering and event spaces. Well the parking garage doesn't sound too exciting at that height but the one there now has to go.

Previously, the City Council voted to deny an appeal of the CenterCal Waterfront Environmental Impact Report, filed by Redondo Beach activist Jim Light. (The EIR was approved on August 8 by the Redondo Beach Harbor Commission.)

The latest wrinkle though is that Rescue Our Waterfront, Building a Better Redondo and the South Bay Parkland Conservancy announced the filing of a lawsuit against the City of Redondo Beach over the approval of the Final Environmental Impact Report.  The groups believe that the FEIR as approved by the City violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Coastal Act and local coastal zoning.

So who knows how that plays out.

What everyone should consider is that there is a solution to redo the current Pier and business to make it a more vibrant destination to make living in Redondo Beach more attractive. Yes, it may increase traffic and congestion but that may be inevitable in any case.

Speaking of the waterfront, after numerous delays the Shade Hotel (pictured above) with 54 rooms, a rooftop pool and onsite restaurants will be having their grand opening November 18th.

AES Plant

After Measure B was voted down, the future of this site is still up in the air. The City is hoping that is state funds become available, Redondo Beach would be able to buy a portion of the waterfront power plant site from whichever developer acquires it from AES, and then to preserve the land as open space in a public-private partnership. That would be a great outcome if it comes to pass.

AES is preparing to put out a second round of bids, having received fewer than 20 offers in the first round, though cleanup, easement and wetlands questions must be worked out.