LAB Holding LLC was unanimously approved to purchase 30 future development properties and lease four government use properties in the North Village along Atlantic Avenue between South Street and 60th Street. The approval was issued by the city council at its August 16 meeting.


“I don’t believe we could have found a better developer to complement what we’re trying to accomplish here in District 9,” Vice Mayor Rex Richardson said during the council meeting. “I can’t wait to see this exciting timeline that’s spelled out in this motion.”


The $2.58 million sale and lease agreement is the fifth approval by the city for LAB Holding to acquire properties in the neighborhood. On July 21 and September 22 and, subsequently, August 3 and September 23 of last year, the Successor Agency and the Oversight Board, respectively, approved the sale of 18 properties.


While all properties of the most recent approval are located in District 9, all but one of the previously approved purchases are located in District 8. This means LAB Holding’s expansive North Village development will bring new life to two districts and their residents. The plan has garnered heavy support from District 8 Councilmember Al Austin.


“This is great news for Uptown, specifically for the residents who have been waiting for many years for something to happen to make the North part of our city relevant,” Austin said during the meeting. “I had the opportunity to welcome Mr. Shaheen Sadeghi [creator and founder of LAB Holding] to North Long Beach and walk him around the North Village. This will make our neighborhood stronger, this will make our city stronger.”


The city worked with LAB Holding to combine the previous 18 sales and the most recently approved sales into a single purchase and sale agreement totaling $6,943,200. The $2.58 million for approximately 176,613 square feet of unimproved land is discounted from the fair market value of $3.68 million due to LAB Holding’s determination that the cost to develop the properties exceeds the value of the completed project by $1.1 million.


The four parcels to be leased by LAB Holding include 25,140 square feet of property within the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library block. These buildings are to be incorporated into LAB Holding’s North Village development concept and are expected to remain classified as government use.


“I think this is one of the most exciting things to happen in North Long Beach in a really long time,” Mayor Robert Garcia said at the meeting. “This LAB Holding mega-project – which is really a lot of smaller projects, they’re building a community – dramatically impacts both District 9 and District 8. I want to thank them for investing in Long Beach, and I look forward to all this activity in the next few years ahead of us, which is pretty exciting.”


LAB Holding has already made a name for itself in Orange County through the creation of The LAB Anti-Mall in 1993 and The CAMP eco-retail center in 2002 (both in Costa Mesa), the restoration of the historic Casino San Clemente, and properties within the SoBECA District, the Anaheim Packing District and Center Street Anaheim.


“I’ve visited some of [LAB Holding’s] venues . . . and they’re fantastic,” District 3 Councilmember Suzie Price said. “I think they’re going to do really well in Long Beach, and I support this one hundred percent.”


According to LAB Holding, there are no renderings or solidified design plans for Long Beach, as they are still assessing all the properties. However, according to city documents, the buyer “anticipates 18 months to complete construction after approval of entitlements.” Based on this schedule, the city estimates occupancy will occur in summer 2019.

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