Rachel Reeves

City of Redondo Beach and CenterCal ‘exclusive’

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The 15-acre Redondo Beach pier development. Rendering submitted by the City of Redondo Beach

The 15-acre Redondo Beach pier development. Rendering submitted by the City of Redondo Beach

The Redondo Beach City Council on Tuesday entered another phase of its relationship with CenterCal, the developer chosen to redesign 15 acres of waterfront property, including the Redondo Beach Pier, the International Boardwalk and the Redondo Beach Marina.

The council this week unanimously entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with CenterCal Properties for the impending $200 million redesign. While the document does not bind the city to any formal arrangement with CenterCal, it outlines the terms of their forthcoming agreement and earmarks March 12 as the date on which the developer will unveil its preliminary design concept.

In the meantime, CenterCal has requested a modification to its schedule in order to host two additional public input meetings – the first on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 p.m. and the second on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10:00 a.m. Both will be held at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, and both will be recorded and posted to the city’s website.

These follow two initial input meetings, which succeeded a 4-1 council vote on Oct. 30 in favor of CenterCal’s proposal.

Waterfront and Economic Development Director Pete Carmichael introduced the terms of the ENA Tuesday, which he called a “framework for partnership” between the city and CenterCal.

“The city is agreeing to work with CenterCal exclusively, which gives CenterCal the confidence to start investing in due diligence and design work,” Carmichael said.

The ENA breaks the proposed project into three phases. The first, expected to last through March, comprises more community meetings, the drawing up of a plan for CenterCal to purchase the Redondo Beach Marina, the inking of an agreement binding CenterCal to reimburse the city for outside costs, and the development of a preliminary design concept. During this phase, CenterCal is also slated to put down a $50,000 deposit for the city’s ongoing project-related legal and consultancy costs.

The second period, scheduled for March through June, will consist of more community outreach, another deposit for the purchase of the marina, and an agreement to the terms of a ground lease. The last and longest period – from June to early 2015 – will involve a lengthy review of the project’s environmental impact. During this time, CenterCal is expected to obtain a formal ground lease and the city is expected to sign an infrastructure agreement outlining its own commitments to support the project with the infrastructure it will require.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Larry Kosmont, real estate advisor to the city, likened the city’s interaction with CenterCal thus far to a “dating” situation. Kosmont called the ENA a step toward a “singular commitment” and a more exclusive relationship.

“The initial chapter is sort of screening what’s out there, where you really are not attached to any particular developer or even any concept but you own land, you have an interest, in this case, of engaging a qualified development partner with qualified financials and skill sets to complete a project,” Kosmont said. “You set out on a [journey] of finding your best long-term partner for this transaction and that’s generally done through the process you went through – the dating process, we call it – which is a request for qualifications first and then a sort of screening process where you go out for awhile and see if, based on the multiple partners that are out there, one seems to be ideally suited for a more singular commitment. That singular commitment is essentially what you’re moving to tonight – that’s the ENA.”

The ENA sets out a “series of chapters in the relationship where they are trying to figure out if it’s worthwhile getting to the next step,” Kosmont said, adding that while CenterCal is the city’s “one and only at this point,” it still has to clear a series of hurdles before gaining the contract to redevelop the Redondo waterfront.

The ENA tracks toward a formal Memorandum of Understanding in June, which will represent a longer-term commitment and ultimately culminate in a development agreement – the point at which the city and developer “have not only moved in but [are] pretty married.”

“We will not be at the married stage of this for another year, year and a half,” Kosmont said.

Mayor Mike Gin said Tuesday that CenterCal has submitted “extraordinary” ideas thus far and applauded its engagement with the Redondo Beach community. ER

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