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South Bay Galleria owner opts for makeover plan with less housing units

The owner of the South Bay Galleria says it will pursue the smallest version of a planned makeover of the 30-acre, north Redondo Beach shopping mall.

The plan includes expanded retail and dining space with an open-air promenade and green space, a six-level, 300-unit apartment complex on Hawthorne Boulevard, a 150-room hotel and 50,000 square feet of office space on the southwest corner of the site.

It was one of four versions studied in a draft EIR that was released two months ago and crafted in response to community feedback.

Mall owner Forest City had previously indicated it was interested in the 300-unit version, but the environmental analysis studied denser plans. The biggest version, which called for a 650-unit, towering housing complex on Kingsdale Avenue, drew backlash from neighboring residents who formed an opposition group.

Forest City is banking on a mixed-use makeover to bring life back to the mall and pick up declining revenues that sank further when Nordstrom left for the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance two years ago.

The plan pushes the Galleria’s overall development footprint to more than 1 million square feet and includes pedestrian and bike paths, and a Neighborhood Park between the housing complex and a retail and dining area.

The draft EIR found that even with restriping, traffic signal changes and other mitigation measures, the new mall will still result in “significant and unavoidable” traffic congestion at three intersections: Hawthorne and Artesia boulevards, Prairie Avenue and Artesia and the northbound 405 Freeway on-ramp at Artesia.

In a statement, Forest City West President Kevin Ratner said the smaller plan “provides us and the city with the best opportunity to reposition the Galleria, spur economic growth in the surrounding community, increase tax revenue for the city and create a unique and vibrant place to live, work and play.”

The project is expected to head to the Redondo Beach Planning Commission in coming months. According to the draft EIR, construction would begin in April 2020 and take 3 1/2 years to complete.

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