As Redondo Beach sets out to revitalize its waterfront and make it into a regional recreation attraction, work is set to begin this week on a new boutique hotel on the edge of King Harbor.
The first order of business starting Thursday is to raze the former Red Onion restaurant building on North Harbor Drive. The Red Onion was once a hot spot for live music but also known for its rowdy clientele. It closed more than a decade ago.
The city purchased the property in 2001 and leased it to other restaurants, but none of them clicked, developer Michael Zislis said.
“The city finally realized that you can’t put lipstick on this pig anymore and it’s time for a new building,” he said.
Zislis, a Manhattan Beach restaurateur and hotelier, won approval from the city to build the 54-room Shade Hotel Redondo Beach on the site. The hotel will cost about $21 million to build, he said, starting with the expensive requirement of driving 200 support pilings 50 feet deep into the shoreline.
“I’m going to bury a million dollars in the dirt,” he quipped.
Timber from the 1960s-era Red Onion building will be salvaged to make bed frames, desks and other furniture for the eco-friendly Shade Hotel, he said. It will also generate its hot water from solar panels.
Zislis operates the Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach, and his restaurants include Rock & Brews in El Segundo and Rock ‘n Fish eateries in Manhattan Beach, Laguna Beach and downtown Los Angeles.
The city of Redondo Beach has acquired 15 acres of land on the waterfront in an effort to improve it, real estate consultant Larry Kosmont said.
“It’s been fairly tired for years,” he said. “It needs refreshing and investment. The plan is to design a locally sensitive regional attraction.”
El Segundo retail real estate developer CenterCal Properties was selected by the city in December to make that happen. Preliminary plans call for restaurants, shops, a hotel, water features including a saltwater swimming pool and a small, luxury movie theater.
The City Council will vote on CenterCal’s waterfront plan in March. The project will be a joint venture of CenterCal and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
The new Shade Hotel is slated to open in early 2015. Rooms are expected to cost about $195 a night on weekdays and $250 on weekends, Zislis said.