Galleria project approved
 
The Redondo Beach City Council in January 2019 approved plans for a revamped South Bay Galleria, amounting to one of the biggest projects in the city for decades.
 
As the result of an appeal of the project by resident Doug Boswell, the City Council negotiated with the developer QIC to include $2 million in additional street improvements and an 8,000 square-foot skate park, among other concessions.
 
The new Galleria, which is expected to be completed in 2023, includes outdoor retail and dining, a 150-room hotel, a 300-unit apartment building as well as an office park.
 
AES buyer and waterfront future
 
With the proposed buyer of the AES power plant site revealed for the first time in an interview earlier this year, 2019 is coming to an end with few actual developments in the ongoing saga to revitalize the Redondo Beach waterfront.
 
The future of the AES power plant is still in limbo.
 
The county has helped the city establish a new financing district to pay for a park on roughly half the property, but sale of the plant to proposed developer Leo Pustilnikov has apparently still not made it through escrow.
 
Meanwhile, the power plant itself could remain open for another two years past its expected December 2020 shut-down date, depending on an upcoming decision by the California Water Resources Control Board. 
 
When it comes to the greater Redondo Beach waterfront, the past year has revealed little movement between the city and CenterCal Properties, which are still locked in a legal battle over alleged financial losses when the deal between the two officially fell through in 2018.
 
Fun Factory closes for good
 
The biggest story in Redondo Beach in 2019, based on readership, was by far the closure of the Redondo Beach Fun Factory. Few attractions in the beach city garnered as much personal endearment as the Fun Factory.
 
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Fun Factory owner Steve Shoemaker holds court during the classic arcade's final day on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (Photo by David Rosenfeld)

The closure did not come without a fair amount of drama. Owner Steve Shoemaker, who years earlier agreed to a buy-out of his lease to make room for a waterfront development, began to have second thoughts as the date approached to vacate by the end of this year. First he was closing, then he vowed to stay open. And ultimately, he announced the attraction's final weekend in October.
 
The closure of the nearly 50-year-old arcade marked the end of an era for many faithful customers with fond memories of the eclectic attraction.
 
There is no word yet on what, if anything, will occupy the space in the year to come. 
 
BeachLife music festival
 
Redondo Beach has never been as cool and popular as it was during the first annual BeachLife Festival summer concert in May.
 
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Frances Johnson dances As The Crow Flies performs on the High Tide stage at the BeachLife Festival at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach on Friday, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Willie Nelson, Bob Weir, Brian Wilson and Ziggy Marley were just some of the big names that transformed the Redondo Beach waterfront into a world class entertainment venue.
 
The 2020 BeachLife Festival summer concert promises to be equally as star-studded with acts such as Ben Harper already announced and a unique acoustic punk rock stage curated by Penywise frontman Jim Lindberg.
 
The goal of promoter Allen Sanford was to put Redondo Beach on the map with its first full-scale three-day musical festival with some of the biggest acts in music.
 
After year one, there is no doubt he is on the way toward creating a legacy as the festival becomes an annual tradition.
 
Mayor Bill Brand diagnosed with lung cancer
 
No story in Redondo Beach came with as much shock in 2019 as when Mayor Bill Brand announced he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  The otherwise healthy 61-year-old was in good shape, still enjoyed outdoor activities such as surfing, and had recently married.
 
It was during a trip to Mexico in June to attend a conference when Brand lost consciousness on a plane. Doctors then discovered he had two small tumors in his skull as a result of Stage 4 lung cancer.
 
In the months since his diagnosis, Brand has undergone radiation treatments on the tumors and chemotherapy to attack the cancer. None of it has slowed him down.
 
Brand has only missed a few meetings as a result of a sore throat or sickness related to the treatment. The outpouring of support, Brand said, has been overwhelming. 
 

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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