Redondo Beach officials announce plan to redevelop huge power plant as a park

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The enormous AES power plant in Redondo Beach, which has loomed over the city’s coastline for decades, may be approaching the end of its life as a power-generating facility.

Local officials, including Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, announced preliminary plans Monday to close the plant and redevelop the 50 acres of land that it sits on.

Operator AES California is already planning to replace the plant with a “smaller, cleaner, more efficient and attractive generating facility,” but officials want to expedite the creation of a new “coastal recreational facility” on the site and to restore wetlands in the area.

To do that, the city and county would partner with a private developer to acquire the land and create a public park, along with a “coastal resort” or a similar development. The proposal will eventually have to win approval from Redondo Beach voters, so the support of elected officials could be key to any developer’s plans for the site.

Whatever type of project ends up replacing the power plant, Hahn says developers and officials will have to alleviate community “concerns about traffic and development in an already dense area.”

In 2015, Redondo Beach residents voted down a plan to close the power plant, because it would have allowed a project with 600 residential units and a hotel to rise in its place.

City officials in Redondo Beach have also recently taken an aggressive stance toward new development, temporarily barring mixed use projects and pushing back against long-running plans for an overhaul of the city’s pier.

Hahn suggested Monday that county resources could help speed the project along, and both California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and State Senator Ben Allen said that state park bond funding that voters will weigh in on in 2018 could be used to finance aspects of the redevelopment and the wetlands restoration.

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