Legado project moves toward final showdown in Redondo Beach
A mixed-use development project on Pacific Coast Highway that has encountered years of pushback from Redondo Beach residents was nudged forward this week by the city Planning Commission.
Commissioners voted to recommend a 128-unit apartment complex on the site of the former Bristol Farms market and Palos Verdes Inn, and tie the construction of the complex to revamping the hotel, which has been vacant since it was ravaged by fire nearly a year ago.
The developer, Legado Cos., first proposed a 180 housing units for the site, then scaled it back to 149 units and finally 146 units in the face of intense community opposition.
While Legado representatives wanted the Redondo Beach City Council to vote on the 146-unit plan at an April meeting, council members agreed that because that plan had not been properly vetted by staff, they sent it back to the Planning Commission for a recommendation.
It will return to the City Council on June 14.
At Thursday night’s commission meeting, complaints of density and responsibility for the hotel were voiced. The pro-Legado crowd was markedly younger than the project’s would-be neighbors. Mostly millennials and students spoke about how they would like to spend the money to live in luxury apartments in Redondo Beach.
“The millennials we’re talking about are coming up on their 30s. I’m 27,” Cameron Wessel said. “The problem is that we look out here, you see outdated apartments that are expensive. They don’t appeal to somebody like me.”
Neighbors from the Riviera Village and the Hollywood Riviera section of Torrance expressed fears about traffic, and whether Legado has proven it is capable of managing the site. Neighbors spoke of skateboarders in the pool of the former Palos Verdes Inn, and markings of the fire that have not been painted over or removed.
“This location, people, is a gateway for Redondo Beach. That little hotel should be the place to stay, and all the units within the complex should have grand designs,” said business owner Joe Oliveri, who added that he would like to see the units cut by a third.
Commission Chairman Phillip Sanchez eventually asked that an amendment be added to the recommendation to reduce the number of units from 146 units to 128.
In questioning from commissioners, Legado Chairman and CEO Edward Czuker seemed to waffle at the permitting process for the hotel. He said he can’t present plans for a hotel until the apartment complex is approved, because it could change what he wants. It could take another six months to a year to start the construction, he said.
When pressed, he said he’d like to move the hotel forward as quickly as possible.
“Our vested interest would be to work on the hotel plan concurrent with the start of the construction on the apartments,” Czuker said.
Still, pairing the hotel and apartment complex became a key part of the recommendation to the council, at Commissioner Nicholas Biro’s suggestion.
“It’s love-hate,” he said of the commission’s relationship to Legado. “But they’ve done what we asked them to do.”
Commissioner Doug Rodriguez agreed, noting that the company is within its rights to sue if the City Council denies the project.
Biro said the project has been through a rigorous vetting by the community.