new civic center

An overview image of the planned new Civic Center from Plenary Edgemoor.

This is a very exciting time for the residents of the city of Long Beach. We are experiencing unprecedented interest in planning and revitalization activities throughout our entire city.

The city is in the midst of creating a Midtown Specific Plan for Long Beach Boulevard from Anaheim to Wardlow; efforts continue to update the Southeast Area Development and Improvement Plan covering 1,500 acres in Southeast Long Beach; a Green Terminal Island Freeway Transition Plan has been created for West Long Beach; and we have just completed implementing a very successful Alcohol Nuisance Abatement Ordinance in North Long Beach, transitioning now to Central Long Beach. These and many other long-range planning efforts have created a solid foundation for new investment and enhancements to quality of life issues within our neighborhoods.

Many of the new development opportunities originate from the properties acquired by the former Redevelopment Agency, which intended to redevelop these properties for more suitable uses. However, in February 2012, the Governor and Legislature dissolved all redevelopment agencies throughout the state of California.

This action resulted in approximately 259 parcels of land suspended in limbo for years, while the city and the state worked on a Long Range Property Management Plan. In March 2015, the State Department of Finance approved the city’s plan, which laid out a road map for the disposal of these parcels, and their subsequent development. The plan allowed the city to market and list for sale most of the smaller parcels at market rate prices, with future uses consistent with underlying zoning, the General Plan or Specific Plans adopted by the Planning Commission and the City Council. The plan also allowed the city to issue Request for Proposals for competitive interest in our larger development sites.

To date, we have received intense interest for these properties all over the city. Almost all of our smaller properties are already sold, in escrow, or will soon be under contract. Some of the larger development sites are being considered for hotel uses along with residential multi-family developments.

Responding to a unique proposal, the city packaged a group of properties in North Long Beach, which may result in realizing the long-planned vision of a “North Village.” Much of this very innovative development will be on Atlantic Avenue from 56th Street to Artesia. Additionally, many existing storefronts on Atlantic Avenue were acquired by neighborhood businesses along that corridor, further spurring revitalization.

We have had just as much success for the larger development sites. One of the most exciting proposals is for a 20-story hotel and business center at the very prominent corner of Pine and Ocean, including approximately 450 rooms and more than 50,000 square feet of amenities. Another hotel is proposed on Broadway west of Long Beach Boulevard with more than 100 rooms.

Also in downtown, the property at Broadway and the Promenade has multiple proposals for residential development. Close by at Pacific Avenue and Third Street, we have received a proposal for two multi-story residential towers. In North Long Beach, the vacant land on the 5100 block of Long Beach Boulevard has received a proposal for a residential community of “for sale” townhomes which will complement the adjacent single family neighborhood and will support nearby retail.

The city also has recently entered an exclusive negotiating agreement with an adjoining landowner for a full block re-development at Atlantic Avenue and 61st Street. Central Long Beach has also seen some exciting proposals, perhaps the most unique is for a “Killing Fields Memorial” for the Cambodian Community adjacent to the Mark Twain Library.

The $500 million public investment in the new Civic Center complex by both the city and the Long Beach Harbor Department has also spurred additional private interest and investment throughout the entire city.

All of this private investment will result in significant economic impact to communities and neighborhoods, and will also create one-time and ongoing structural revenue for the city. It truly is an exciting time for Long Beach.

Patrick West is the Long Beach city manager and Michael Conway is the director of the Economic and Property Development Department.

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