homeless shelter press conference (copy)

Vice Mayor Dee Andrews talks in January at a press conference announcing purchase of property in north Long Beach for a year-round shelter for the homeless. Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, who facilitated the purchase, listens in the background.

A marijuana cultivation company leasing a warehouse in north Long Beach that is part of a land parcel purchased by the city says it plans to continue cultivation there until at least 2026.

City officials said Thursday that plans are moving forward for an 125-bed year-round homeless shelter at 6845 Atlantic Ave. In a statement, the city acknowledges it has assumed the leasehold as part of the purchase, but adds that its future has not been determined.

Long Beach bought the property at 6481-6845 Atlantic Ave., which currently is home to Eddie’s Liquor and the former site of Atlantic Farms, in January this year for $9.6 million. Escrow on the purchase closed earlier this week.

The large warehouse on the site — Atlantic Farms — had been used as the winter homeless shelter from 2010 to 2017, when it was leased to a marijuana cultivation firm. That firm, KBA6845, LLC, represented by Kirk Kim, sent out a press release Thursday morning saying it intends to exercise its lease renewal options out to 2026. The release said that the company still is in the process of obtaining a license from the city to operate there.

“Although the city initially asked us to relocate, we are pleased that the city has agreed to assume our lease, thereby allowing us to pursue our plans to construct a facility that will not only generate meaningful tax revenue for Long Beach over the next 7 years but will also create jobs as we plan to hire locally,” Kim said in the release.

The statement issued from City Manager Pat West's office in reply says, "Although Mr. Kim has expressed an intention to use the leased space for cannabis cultivation activities, the city has not issued any license or permit to operate such a facility on the site. The total lot size of the entire property is approximately 99,000 square feet, while the leasehold obtained by Mr. Kim from the previous property owner is approximately 20,000 square feet."

When the purchase was announced in January, the high purchase price was questioned by opponents citing a 2013 sale for $2 million. John Keisler, Economic and Real Estate Development Department director, said then the parcel had been appraised for more than $7 million, largely because its zoning allowed for marijuana cultivation. KBA6845 reportedly leased the warehouse in 2017 for $40,000 a month.

City officials said in February that the additional $2 million in the purchase price was to allow the seller to deal with current businesses. The statement Thursday notes no license or permit for marijuana cultivation has been issued for the site. There was no comment on Kim's assertion that the city had agreed to continue the licensing process.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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