Redondo Beach officials decided this week to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with El Segundo's CenterCal Properties to revitalize the waterfront.

The City Council, which chose CenterCal's proposal over two others last fall, also called for two additional public meetings before it unveils a preliminary development concept.

In addition to the meeting already set for 6 p.m. Thursday, the public will have a chance to weigh in at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 and at 10 a.m. Feb. 23. All of the meetings will be at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

CenterCal already has held two public "listening" sessions to gather comment from local residents and business owners. Company President Jean Paul Wardy showed the council a graphic "word cloud" Tuesday that expressed some of the themes and concerns that representatives have heard from residents and pier business owners, including "views," "family," "art," "no big retailers" and "biking."

"What we will be doing going forward is trying to put some meat on the bone," Wardy said.

For the next meeting, company designers will work with attendees to talk about what uses might best fit different parts of the waterfront.

Wardy and CenterCal received praise from officials for their outreach so far.

"What you have been doing has been great," said Councilman Bill Brand, whose district includes the waterfront. "People are going from what they don't want to see to what they do want to see."

A revised project schedule included in a staff report sets March 12 as the date the council will vote on the preliminary design concept. Council members have said they want to have a preliminary design before a new council is seated from the March 5 election.

Some residents have expressed concern that the council is rushing to a design, but the council and Wardy stressed the March 12 proposal will indeed just be preliminary.

"It will be at least two years before a shovel hits the ground," Wardy said.

According to city staff, the so-called exclusive negotiating agreement breaks the development process into three periods. The first, which lasts until March 2013, concludes with a preliminary development concept, a term sheet outlining the financial component of the project and a plan for the purchase of the Redondo Beach Marina property.

Period two, which lasts until June 2013, includes several additional key milestones, including a detailed development concept, the kickoff of the environmental review and a memorandum of understanding detailing financial terms and commitments. The final phase, period three, concludes with the completion of the environmental review, entitlements, and the council's consideration of a final development agreement and ground lease.

The total investment in the waterfront by the selected developer is likely to be as much as $150 million to $200 million over the next five to 10 years, a staff report states. New retail, entertainment and hospitality uses from this project could generate as much as $4 million to $8 million in new annual revenue to the city and harbor funds through sales tax, transient occupancy (hotel) tax and leasehold ground rent.

psilva@tbrnews.com

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