The study is due to be completed next year. Vowed Wernick: "You're going to come here a year from this date and you're going to see a much different downtown."
A few trial balloons already are floating about, Hansen said.
Some officials believe they might be able to capture a bigger piece of the Hollywood pie. The downtown storefronts are ideal for movie sets, Hansen said, noting that the high school--with its brick exterior, evocative of a Midwestern campus--already is a Hollywood discovery.
Also under consideration is a plan that would close a block or two of Main Street to cars and turn it into a funky outside mall, in the manner of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.
It has not gone unnoticed in El Segundo that Hermosa Beach, just a few miles to the south, made a pedestrian walkway out of a downtown block by the municipal pier. In Hermosa, trendy bars and restaurants now line both sides of what used to be the street.