Sitting in a conference room on a recent morning, Fred Bruning was surrounded by visions of Redondo Beach's waterfront.

Bruning is the CEO of CenterCal properties, the El Segundo-based developer chosen by the city of Redondo Beach to revitalize the pier and harbor area, but the visions on the office walls aren't just the work of professional urban planners. They also reflect the hopes, dreams and concerns of the hundreds of people who attended a series of public meetings, including two hands-on workshops where they marked up dozens of aerial views of the current waterfront.

CenterCal has shaped that input into a site plan to be unveiled at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

The developer will collect more feedback from the public and then present a general design concept to the City Council in March.

But Bruning is quick to point out that concept will evolve as the council weighs in and more meetings are held.

"My guess is we are going to go through 50 plans," he said. "As we get closer (to actual construction), it's like a narrowing of a flight plan."

It's appropriate that Bruning uses an aviation term to describe the design process because flying is one of his passions, and he has flown over the Redondo waterfront countless times in his vintage biplane.

Lately, Bruning has also been getting a detailed ground-level look at the area.


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"For months I've been walking around the waterfront at all hours," he said. "I'm surprised I haven't been arrested for vagrancy."

Bruning said he and his colleagues have taken great effort to literally look at the waterfront from all angles. CenterCal President Jean Paul Wardy has traveled around the pier and harbor area on a stand-up paddleboard to get the sea-level view.

Bruning and his design team also personally visited 78 individual units in the condominium developments that overlook the waterfront. They took pictures from each unit, the first step in creating a digital database that will give residents a virtual projection of how the proposed waterfront design would affect their specific view.

View protection has been a top concern for people attending the waterfront meetings. Bruning said there will be changes to some views, with many potentially being improved.

"In some cases, people are going to get a better view," he said. "Right now they might be looking at the back of a funky old restaurant and we are going to be able to create a new view corridor that gives them an ocean view."

He also encouraged residents to consider the totality of their view when looking at the online digital projections once they are available.

"There may be situations where we affect 1 percent of someone's view by putting in a roofline they aren't seeing today," he said, "but we are improving the other 99 percent because instead of looking at a parking lot you are looking at a green park or a beautiful fountain."

In addition to view protection, the wish list that has taken shape in the public meetings includes space for public art, open space, aquatic sports, a boat ramp, an improved bike bath, and traffic patterns that encourage easy access in and out of the waterfront.

The most common concern expressed about a new retail environment has been that it not be a mall, a message Bruning has heard loud and clear and agrees with wholeheartedly.

"Obviously we don't want to be anything like Del Amo (mall) or the South Bay Galleria," he said. "That would be the worst thing we could do. There's too much of that already. That's not what people want here. There are 70 malls in the greater Los Angeles area. The last thing Redondo Beach wants to be is 71."

Instead, he described a mixture of specialty restaurants, unique retailers and seafood vendors to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

"You could have a public marketplace designed where you had a beautiful glass wall facing the ocean," Bruning said, "so as you are inside the marketplace you feel like you could touch the sea."

The key is putting current and new businesses together to create a destination locals and tourists want to go to and then make it easy to for them to get there.

"You take the stuff on the pier that's really great and iconic, like Kincaid's, that succeed in spite of themselves because it's so hard to get there," he said.

As the first draft of the site plan comes into shape, Bruning gives great credit to the residents and business people who have put in the work at the public meetings to date.

"People have been give tremendous amounts of their time to this process and I think it's just wonderful," he said. "I told them (at the last meeting) that if it's possible I'm going to get every one in this room at least four credits of urban design."

 

Want to go?

What: Unveiling of proposed Redondo Beach waterfront site plan

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach