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'Chill The Build' Lawsuit Dismissed; Highrose/Verandas Project Moves Ahead

Apr 02, 2024 10:27AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The "Chill the Build" lawsuit, which sought to halt construction on the Highrose/Verandas project in the El Porto section of Manhattan Beach, has been dismissed. 

Chill the Build LLC said in a statement that it did not have the funding to continue the challenge, so it had withdrawn its lawsuit.

The Highrose/Verandas project is proposed as a 96,217 square-foot, four-story multifamily residential structure at Highland and Rosecrans. The design calls for 79 units, six of which would be set aside for "very low income" households.

The proposal had drawn vocal opposition from some residents, who have said that it would take away from the small-town character of the El Porto neighborhood and could make traffic and parking issues significantly worse.

Draft renderings of the proposed Highrose project, as provided by Withee Malcolm Design Studio.

Furthermore, opponents cited a potential "adverse impact" to health and safety of future residents due to the proposed development's proximity to the neighboring Chevron refinery in El Segundo.

Nevertheless, El Porto is a sought-after destination with ocean views and great surf. Notably, more than 35 properties sit on Crest Drive in El Porto directly backing up to Chevron property, and many others sit adjacent to those properties east of Highland Ave. Those properties trade for millions.

A three-bedroom, four-bathroom townhome that is essentially bordered by the refinery to the north and east, for example, sold for $3.1 million in October 2023.

Lawsuit Followed City Approval

In January 2023, after the City Council approved the project, Chill The Build filed a lawsuit against Manhattan Beach to challenge the council’s approval of the project. In late 2023, Chill the Build filed a motion for a preliminary injunction aiming to stop excavation, demolition, and construction at the site. But the injunction effort was denied on Nov. 30, 2023, and green construction fences surrounded the property.

Today all of the old buildings on site have been demolished and cleared, including the Verandas event site, a mini-mall/office complex known as the Trade Winds and another building including the bar formerly known as Summers.


In denying the group's motion, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis Kin ruled that Chill The Build “did not demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the case,” either under state law or the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In the Court’s ruling, the judge wrote that the court finds no likelihood of petitioner’s success in establishing a CEQA violation.

In light of the ruling, Chill The Build filed a notice to dismiss its complaint with prejudice, and the court did dismiss it on March 8. Chill The Build’s lawsuit is finished and the housing project continues.

In a press release Monday, the City of Manhattan Beach said the project "brings much-needed affordable housing options to Manhattan Beach."

For more information about the development project, visit the city's Highrose/Veranda page.

The proposed Verandas project (facing along Rosecrans Ave. in Manhattan Beach). Image via Project Verandas.


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