The Redondo Beach City Council recently voted to shut down Redondo Fun Factory to make room for a new shopping mall. The ’70s-era amusement center is hidden under a parking garage next to the Redondo Beach Pier and is filled with arcade classics from Pong to Pac Man. The walls and ceiling are encrusted with generations of tacky signage, flashing lights, and dusty carnival prizes. It’s a run-down man cave as big as a Wal-Mart and the clock is ticking toward its demise.
The current owner has held the lease on the bottom level of the parking structure since 1972 and also runs a fish market on the pier. The Fun Factory’s tenancy was extended through 2027, but the owner recently reached an agreement with the city to leave early in exchange for $9 million. In three years, the space must be vacated.
For now, the decrepit arcade soldiers on. The Tilt-a-Whirl is only fifty cents on rainy days. You can win tickets at Skee-Ball that can be redeemed for 9-volt batteries or an industrial meat slicer. The scraping of the steel blades on the revolving clown-in-a-box can be heard from across the room. I can’t imagine anything further from the $400 million “experiential center” (with its upscale retail and dining, creative office space, and hotel) that developers have envisioned as the Fun Factory’s replacement.