A $241,950 contract for an assessment of Long Beach’s development review process and real estate market potential was approved unanimously as one of 11 consent calendar items voted on at the April 18 city council meeting.


In November 2016, the city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to assess internal and external factors impacting real estate development in the city and how to capitalize on growth opportunities. According to John Keisler, director of economic and property development, the RFP process was unsuccessful. The city received only two proposals – one was withdrawn and the other was deemed inadequate.


After the unsuccessful RFP process, the city requested a proposal from Arup North America Ltd., which was awarded the contract. The company “recently provided the Port of Long Beach with public-private development services that integrated financial, commercial real estate, design, engineering, cost consulting and community outreach for redevelopment of the civic center complex,” according to the staff report.


BAE Urban Economics, a subcontractor to Arup, focused on private real estate components of the civic center project by “creating financial criteria and minimum deal terms for the private development.”


“Because of Arup’s and BAE’s technical qualifications, local knowledge and intimate familiarity with the city, they are in the unique position to effectively and efficiently execute the scope of work: an assessment of the factors that influence the quality and quantity of real estate development investment with the city, as well as recommendations on how to increase high-rise and high-density development in Downtown Long Beach,” the staff report said.


Arup will evaluate city policy and procedure and compare the cost of developing property in Long Beach with surrounding cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, San Diego, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine.


One public commenter said paying for this service is not a smart business decision on the part of the city council. However, after a clarification, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson said, “It sounds like an executive decision that makes good business sense.”


The contract is for a one-year period, with a one year renewal option.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.