City and business representatives on Thursday celebrated the groundbreaking of a new townhome and retail community coming to North Long Beach.

The project, “RTHM,” is located at Atlantic Boulevard and South Street and will consist of 84 residential townhomes and 2,294 square feet of commercial space.

The residential area will include two, three and four-bedroom condominiums for sale, accommodating larger families.

“It’s not going to solve every issue in the city, but it’s really important, this style of housing,” said Christopher Koontz, acting director of the Development Services Department. “It’s what people want. It’s what we haven’t been able to deliver for many years.”

The project, situated on a 2.3-acre site, will also have 187 parking stalls through attached two-car garages and 19 surface parking stalls.

Each unit is expected to include a private open space such as a balcony or patio.

Additionally, common open space will be centrally located in the middle of the development in the form of a pool and deck area, along with a community room with a small kitchenette and common bathrooms, according to the site plan review. A small coffee kiosk will also be accessible from the common area.

As for the project’s commercial space, according to the site plan review, the development is expected to include a public plaza with two cafe/restaurant/retail buildings.

Koontz estimates that the project will take two years or so to complete.

Partners in the project development include LAB Holding LLC, Brandywine Homes, Inc. and the Uptown Business Improvement District.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years, this has been an empty lot for that entire time that I’ve lived here,” said Joni Ricks-Oddie, planning commissioner who also serves as vice president of the Deforest Neighborhood Association and as a board member for the Uptown Business Improvement District. “I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old, I want to be able to walk down the street, take them to coffee shops, take them to local restaurants, making this a true core business corridor, a true Uptown just like our Downtown that’s flourishing and that we as residents can really enjoy.”

City Councilmember Rex Richardson speaks about a new townhome and commercial space coming to North Long Beach on Nov. 3, 2022. Photo by Tess Kazenoff.

“This really shows to the city that there are ways that we can invest in communities that have been forgotten, we can do things like build housing, we can expect the best for our communities, people can have the things that they need within walking distance,” said City Councilmember Rex Richardson, who hosted the event. “And that’s what this project truly represents.”

Not only will the project complement the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, which is across the street from the lot, but it will also create an area more engaging to the public sphere that will invite positive social interaction, Richardson said.

“We’re talking about the corner of Atlantic and South Street being iconic, and being engaged with restaurants and foot traffic. You’re talking about an opportunity for people to walk across the street and get coffee from the library,” Richardson said. “We’re helping make a neighborhood. That’s what’s important about what we’re doing here.”