2nd & pch grand opening

Mayor Robert Garcia speaks Thursday during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of 2ND & PCH Shopping Center in Long Beach.

The development of 2ND & PCH has been a transformative one for Long Beach’s southeastern gateway, replacing an outdated eyesore of a hotel with a modern two-story commercial center.

Hundreds of area residents gathered at 2ND & PCH this morning to see the 11-acre open-air shopping mall for the first time, with dignitaries cutting a large ribbon to mark the occasion at the egress between Long Beach and Orange County.

2ND & PCH General Manager Samantha Lopez, working under developer CenterCal Properties, LLC., said there is enough room for about 60 businesses in the 215,000-square-foot center, which is already mostly leased.

Some business owners were already ringing up their first customers on opening day, including the center’s anchor tenant Whole Foods, which got an early start Wednesday at its new 45,000-square-foot store.

“We have roughly 75% leased, and about half of those are open,” Lopez said of 2ND & PCH, noting that more businesses are opening every day, and contracts are being signed now to fill two large restaurant spaces.

“By next summer, we should have 100% occupancy,” she said.

Among those stores already making sales on the first day at 2ND & PCH was gorjana [sic], a jewelry shop based in Laguna Beach with more than a dozen other locations. The company’s marketing director, Kenah Cooper, said they are excited to provide a more convenient location for their already strong customer base in Long Beach.

“We felt we had stores in Los Angeles and Orange County but no space in between serving our Long Beach customers, and when we saw the other, right kind of retailers signing on here, we knew this was the right fit for us,” Cooper said.

Lines were already forming inside Sephora and several other open businesses that offered special in-store gifts with purchase or other incentives to welcome customers. For those that weren’t yet open, some had pop-up tables set up outside to hand out freebies.

One business soon to open is BOXHAUS fitness studio, which has its original location in Newport Beach. The boxing-inspired gym wasn’t ready in time for a fall opening, but studio director Stevie Mersola said she expects it to be open in early 2020.

“We’ve been wanting to expand, and the other brands and companies here (at 2ND & PCH) really speak for themselves — they are aligned with ours," Mersola said. "There’s an energy and feeling here that feels like home. And the demographics of the people in this neighborhood and walking through this center are exactly our demographics.”

Locals strolling through the lounge areas and upstairs boardwalk during the opening were impressed by what they saw. Lifelong resident Denise King, 65, and her husband, Dennis, said they’ve been following the development’s progress closely and walked to the opening.

“The hotel has been replaced with a prime property that capitalizes on this coastal location,” King said. “We went to the Whole Foods and were amazed at the size and selection.”

Her husband said of the shopping center, “It’s better than my expectations.”

The couple said 2ND & PCH reminded them of something they’d find in Huntington Beach.

Other residents, too, shared similar sentiments, with many stopping to look at the murals, intricate tile and woodwork, sculpture-topped fountain and other artistic elements of the design. Oversize touchscreens help guide guests with interactive maps of the mall.

One impressed onlooker was Wayne Smith, who has lived in Long Beach for 30 years. He said, “This might even surpass Huntington Beach, especially when all the stores fill up.”

Smith did note, however, that he felt like the shopping center across the street, The Marketplace, might begin to “resemble a ghost town” by comparison since he said it just isn’t on the same level as the new 2ND & PCH development.

Locals looking to check out 2ND & PCH will find plenty of incentives to do so through the weekend, with special grand opening activities from film screenings to live concerts for the whole family to enjoy. For details, visit 2ndAndPCH.com.

“This is the level of quality and service this city deserves,” Mayor Robert Garcia told the crowd at the opening, noting that the neighborhood long has been asking for the kind of retail and restaurants now right in their own backyard.

Retail stores anticipated at 2ND&PCH: AT&T Mobility; Athleta; Free People; gorjana; Linne’s Boutique; lululemon; Nike; Paper Source; The Shade Store; Urban Outfitters; and Warby Parker.

Health, beauty, service-oriented businesses coming to 2ND&PCH: Barry’s Bootcamp; Be Fit Pilates; BOXHAUS;  Hawt Yoga; Holly and Hudson Nail Lounge; LATHER; Peloton; Sephora; and The Solution.

Food, dining, treats and nightlife at 2ND&PCH: Tuesday’s Sweet Shoppe; Caffe Luxxe; Hungry Angelina; Noble Bird Rotisserie; Ola Mexican Kitchen; Otosan Sushi; Shake Shack; The Bungalow; The Italian Homemade Company; Tocaya Organica; Urban Plates; and Whole Foods.

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