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REDONDO BEACH : Pier's Top Leaseholder Will Sell Off Holdings

August 04, 1994|GORDON DILLOW

The largest leaseholder of the Redondo Beach pier has put his property up for sale for $2.5 million, saying he has been unable to agree with city officials about plans for the pier.

But city officials say it is economics, not conflicting visions of the pier's future, that prompted the "For Sale" sign.

"I don't think that I can drive this project," said Steve Shoemaker, general partner of Redondo Horseshoe Pier Co., which acquired the pier property for $1.2 million in 1991, three years after the pier was devastated by fire. "I think somebody else can."

Shoemaker said he has had long-standing disagreements with city officials over what kinds of businesses to put on the 1,000-foot-long pier after a $10-million reconstruction project, paid for by the city, is completed later this year. Shoemaker wants to put a "family attraction" such as a carousel or an aquarium on the pier, while city officials would prefer upscale restaurants and shops.

"(City officials) want a sedate village kind of place," Shoemaker said. "But what the pier needs is some kind of first-class attraction."

But Shoemaker said his dreams of putting in a popular attraction have been stymied by city officials.

"They're saying we don't have the right to do anything," he said.

City officials deny it.

"We're just interested that there be some qualityin the development," Redondo Beach Harbor Director Ray Koke said. Koke added that Shoemaker's plan to sell the project "has everything to do with economics."

Shoemaker acknowledged that if he sells the pier property he could realize a substantial profit and not have to invest $1 million to $2 million in improvements to the pier. But he said money isn't the reason he wants out.

"It's not an issue of money," Shoemaker said. "It's an issue of dreams."

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