A new zoning plan in North Long Beach has officially been put to use for the first time.

Long Beach-based developer Urban Pacific on Thursday celebrated the groundbreaking for a three-story, five-unit townhouse concept at 1115 E. Artesia Blvd. The project is one of five similar developments around the city. Its five units will be intended mainly for working class families that live with multiple generations of relatives.

Of the five units, four will have five bedrooms and five bathrooms, with the last being a three-bedroom unit. Many of the households that Urban Pacific Founder and CEO Scott Choppin expects to apply will have multiple income earners because of their multi-generational status, meaning that setting income requirements is difficult.

There are no specific income ranges required to apply, but Urban Pacific’s focus will be on households making between 80-120% of the area median income. For a household of five, that equates to $102,950 to $129,688 per year.

“We’re not required to only rent to tenants that are in that specific range. We’ll have families that are above that,” Choppin said. “But [80%-120%] is going to be typical of what you see.”

Parking will be provided to each unit in the form of a ground-floor two-car garage.

“What we find is these multi-gen families are quite often sharing cars,” Choppin said. “The idea that would typically strike people as ‘five bedrooms and five people must mean five cars’ is not correct.”

The development is the first to fall under the Uptown Planning Land Use and Neighborhood Strategy (UPLAN), which changed zoning to encourage uses like housing, grocery stores and health care.

“One of the bigger issues was the outdated zoning in North Long Beach,” Councilmember Rex Richardson, whose 9th District includes the project, said. “We had liquor stores and motels and a whole lot of certain uses, and not a lot of what the community needed.”

He championed the UPLAN as a way to tackle that problem, and his efforts were rewarded when the first phase of the plan—involving zoning changes in the Atlantic and Artesia Corridors—was adopted in November 2020.

Adding this townhouse project to North Long Beach will also make use of a long underutilized lot. Richardson said the lot has been vacant for at least two decades, and the UPLAN changes made it easier for Urban Pacific to get this project approved.

The building itself will boast a contemporary design with awnings and a sharp color palette to improve building depth. Each of the units will feature balconies and a variety of window sizes along the front of the building for aesthetics and access to light.

Richardson said the project is an important step toward reimagining development in North Long Beach.

“We have to find opportunities to provide housing that’s affordable,” Richardson said. “No matter the size, whether it’s five units or 50 units, we have to explore all those opportunities.”

Construction for the project is expected to take 8 to 10 months to complete.

Christian May-Suzuki is a reporter at the Long Beach Business Journal.