Two light industrial buildings (and possibly two more) are coming to the historic former Boeing C-17 assembly site west of Long Beach Airport, with a project master plan for the Goodman Commerce Center unanimously approved Thursday by the Long Beach Planning Commission.
The plan includes the construction of two buildings—505,043 square feet and 77,552 square feet—to be built on 28 acres at 2401 E. Wardlow Road for either manufacturing or warehousing/logistics uses. While the vote approved the master plan for the development, each building also will require Planning Commission approval.
The overall project by Australian-based developer The Goodman Group includes two other buildings that are across the city boundary and must be approved separately by the city of Lakewood.
A previous proposal from Goodman submitted to the city in 2020 included the adaptive reuse of the existing building as an Amazon Logistics delivery station, which would operate 24/7. In the document obtained by the Business Journal through a public records request, Amazon stated the station would create hundreds of jobs.
“Our growth in Long Beach, CA is the result of an outstanding workforce, strong local support, and incredible customers,” Amazon wrote. “Our associates and customers in this region are also your residents, and we want to ensure we are being good neighbors.”
The master plan approved Thursday does not mention Amazon, and Goodman did not respond to a request for comment as to whether or not the multinational company is still on board to occupy any part of the development.
The project includes all new landscaping with pedestrian paths and outdoor gathering areas for employees and visitors. The project also calls for bike infrastructure, including racks, lockers and showers for employees, as well as a bikeway—which will not connect to anything for now, as no bike paths currently exist along this section of Cherry or farther west along Wardlow.
Construction of the new buildings requires the demolition of the existing 646,874-square-foot building and parking areas, which was first constructed by McDonnell-Douglas in 1967 for final assembly of the DC-10 airliner. In 1989, the facility was remodeled for C-17 Globemaster III assembly.
C-17 production ended in 2015 under Boeing, which acquired McDonnell-Douglas almost two decades earlier, leaving the facilities vacant for years.
Goodman acquired the 93-acre property in 2019. In June 2021, the company announced satellite launch company Relativity Space would take over the massive hangar south of Wardlow with a 16.5-year lease.
Because the Relativity project was adaptive reuse with no new construction, the newly approved complex north of Wardlow will be the first full-scale, ground-up development within Long Beach’s Globemaster Corridor Specific Plan, which was adopted in 2021, Development Services Director Christopher Koontz told the Business Journal.
The tenants’ use will determine the number of parking spaces for each building, according to a staff presentation. The larger facility would have 506 parking stalls if it becomes a warehouse or 1,012 stalls if it becomes a manufacturing plant. The smaller building, meanwhile, would have either 125 stalls or 158 stalls under the same circumstances.
Goodman estimates the new buildings will generate 2,475 daily vehicle trips once fully built out, which is expected to have “unavoidable levels of service impacts” to five nearby intersections. Mitigating measures such as introducing right-turn lanes and removing street parking were considered, but city staff determined any measures would conflict with other city initiatives, including the 2040 Bicycle Master Plan.
Because the project falls within the scope of the area’s specific plan, including meeting all environmental compliance regulations, the commission voted to approve with next to no discussion. Commissioner Alvaro Castillo questioned why there is no solar element included in a project with so much roof area.
Koontz and Jim Cottrell, senior vice president of development for Goodman, both noted that the buildings would be solar ready, but that any installation would come after tenants are selected for logistical reasons.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct which satellite launch company is leasing the former C-17 site.