REDONDO BEACH, CA -- Amusement industry veteran Steve Shoemaker has reached an agreement with the seaside city of Redondo Beach, CA, regarding the future of his Redondo Beach Fun Factory. The agreement to take control of Shoemaker's long-term lease, bringing about the closure of the local landmark amusement venue, is said to be worth about $9 million. The arcade, which opened in 1993, is located on the Redondo Beach Pier. It will make way for a redevelopment project. Redondo Beach is one of the three Beach Cities located in Los Angeles County.
According to plans by developer CenterCal Properties LLC, the pier on which Shoemaker's arcade is located is part of a massive $400 million, 36-acre redevelopment project aimed at "revitalizing" the waterfront. Called the Waterfront, the new development will include a four-star boutique hotel, specialty retail shops, a market hall of local retailers and restaurants. It will also have public gathering areas for concerts and community events.
The project and Shoemaker's agreement with the city have been contentious. "We've been involved in numerous lawsuits, some of which I won, some of which I didn't," Shoemaker told Vending Times. "It was a litigious relationship between me and the city. I got a super lease and they always wanted more money, but I believe I came out very much ahead."
Under the terms of the agreement, Shoemaker will operate the arcade for another three years, then decide on his next move. Under consideration is a waterfront carousel, a project for which the operator had previously advocated without success.
Shoemaker is not only an arcade operator, but he is also a well-known inventor of coin-operated amusement devices. He said the deal in no way impacts his two amusement machine development companies, Wedges/Ledges of California Inc. and its subsidiary Games of Pure Skill. "This deal has nothing to do with our game manufacturing interests," he underscored. "It only includes the pier and arcade."
Shoemaker, 80, has not decided whether he will open another arcade. However, the inveterate coin-op inventor has promised the release of several new devices that he says will boost profits for the average operator. One of them is a mechanism for skill cranes; it's for controlling the movement of claws, vacuums, magnets and other pickup devices.