A draft Environmental Impact Report may be released as soon as next week for the proposed second+pch development to replace the SeaPort Marina Hotel at the intersection of Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
On the eve of that important event, results of an opinion survey have been released that say the majority of the city and the Third District are in favor of the project. The polling firm Goodwin Simon Strategic Research conducted the survey, which was paid for by property owners Taki-Sun (Ray and Amy Lin) and developer Development Services Group (David Malmuth and Cliff Ratkovich, principals).
Paul Goodwin said the citywide survey showed 62% of Long Beach voters favor the mixed-use redevelopment. A separate survey of residents in the Third City Council District, where the property is located, showed a nearly two-to-one margin in favor.
“This is a very high level of favorability for a significant development such as second+pch,” Goodwin said in a press release.
“People know this site. It is a large and highly visible property in the city that is not viewed favorably in its current condition.”
The Lins have been trying to redevelop the hotel site for a number of years. The first development partner, Lennar Homes, got to the EIR approval process before dropping out in the face of opposition from City Councilman Gary DeLong, among others. Under the current proposal, the hotel would be razed and the 11-acre site would be redeveloped with 220,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 100-unit boutique hotel, 95 hotel-condominium units and 230 residential units in a mix of lofts, flats and townhomes.
The hotel would rise 12 stories on the south end of the property — a point of contention with opponents. Current zoning allows buildings of no more than three stories in height.
Malmuth and Ratkovich have said that the hotel will function as a gateway icon as people enter the city from Orange County. They also argue that there is a need for high-end retail space, even though the Marketplace is across the highway in one direction and Marina Pacifica is just north of Second Street.
According to the Goodwin survey 56% of the people surveyed in the Third District leave Long Beach to find more upscale shopping. Another major complaint is the potential traffic impact at Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway, an intersection already classed as one of the busiest in the city.
While some traffic mitigations are already planned and in the draft EIR, the developers have argued that the project is worth some traffic congestion.
The survey attempts to show that residents agree with that argument.
Asked what the top concern for Long Beach is, 54% said unemployment and 49% said lack of money for city services. According to Goodwin, 39% of respondents ranked traffic congestion as a serious problem, while 32% said it wasn’t a serious issue.
“Plans for second+pch include a 12-story boutique hotel and residential building,” the release said.
“Even after this was explained to respondents, as well as the potential for increased traffic, citywide support for the redevelopment plan remained at 60%.”
Goodwin polled 400 people throughout Long Beach and another 400 people in the Third City Council District for the survey. The statistical margin of error is 5%.
The draft EIR will be released through the city’s Development Services Department. Once it is released, there will be a 45-day public comment period.
Then, after comments have been answered, a final EIR will be prepared for review by the city’s Planning Commission.
The City Council and the state Coastal Commission both will have approval hearings as well before any project can be approved.