REDONDO BEACH : Leasehold Gives City More Control Over Pier

The City Council has voted to spend $1.5 million to purchase the largest leasehold on the Redondo Beach Pier, a move that will give the city greater control over development on the city-owned pier.

Last summer, Redondo Beach Horseshoe Pier Co. owner Steve Shoemaker put his lease up for sale. He said he decided to sell it after city officials refused to let him develop what they considered undesirable attractions, such as a wax museum. The council voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to purchase the lease, which expires in 2033. Councilman Steve Colin opposed the purchase.

"Hopefully, we can attract the kind of development that's going to enhance Redondo Beach," said City Councilwoman Marilyn White. "I'd like to see a family restaurant down there."

The leasehold covers 15,000 square feet of pier space. Two other organizations also own leaseholds on the pier.

The pier was destroyed by pounding surf and a fire in 1988. A portion of the reconstructed pier is scheduled to open in a ceremony Saturday, but businesses on the pier have yet to be built.

Colin said he believes that the money would be better spent repairing the city's aging sewer system. "The pier has never been profitable for the city," he said. "I'm not convinced we'll be able to operate it and make a profit."

The decision to purchase the lease also settles a claim filed by Redondo Horseshoe Pier Co. against the city in 1991. The company claimed that the city failed to construct the pier as it had promised under an earlier agreement.

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