Perspectives on the future of Downtown Long Beach from Jeffrey Fullerton, Julia Huang, Tony Shooshani, Michael Bohn and Ryan Altoon.
The Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners (PECP) team would like to thank the Long Beach City Council and all stakeholders for moving this transformational project forward. Engagement with community members from throughout Long Beach has helped shape the design of the project over the last two years and we are very thankful for all the input we received.
The new Civic Center will be a prominent architectural fixture in the evolving downtown landscape. The new City Hall and Port Administration Building will provide a safe, inviting and efficient place to do business with the City and the Port of Long Beach. The re-designed Main Library and Lincoln Park will be more accessible to local residents and will be designed for a variety of uses, allowing greater enjoyment of these important public amenities. And, the future private development components will add activity to an already burgeoning downtown.
This project will also be an important economic stimulus to the City and will serve as a catalyst for future development. The project will result in an estimated 8,000 part time and full time jobs, more than $1 million in projected annual new tax revenues to the City of Long Beach, and more than $45 million in annual spending in the downtown core.
The new Civic Center is vital to the continued growth of downtown Long Beach, and PECP is honored to be delivering this exceptional project.
DTLB is a home for me on many levels.
A lot of people think interTrend is the new kid in the hood. We were perched on the top floor of a high-rise on Ocean Boulevard since 1997 and had limited interface with the city. Then serendipity led us to a dilapidated building called American Hotel (and also known as the Psychic Temple) in Downtown Long Beach (DTLB) owned by the city – and in need of some major TLC. It was in an utter state of disrepair but ultimately, its charm proved too strong and we fell in love with the history and story behind it. Still, it took us four years to renovate it to a habitable building.
Moving to Psychic Temple Long Beach, as we call it now, transformed our relationship with the city from a transactional landlord-tenant give-and-take to a relationship that makes us feel truly part of the community.
And with that comes our strong feeling of responsibility to be an active participant to build and to give back to the city we call home. We are still learning, however, and trial and error are constant.
And in giving back, we wanted to make a name for ourselves beyond the work we do within the walls of our office. We knew that DTLB could be that fertile growing ground for making our hopes bigger and dreams a bit more tangible . . . And having always been a supporter of arts and culture, our taking on of POW! WOW! and bringing it to DTLB was the first time we really had to build a more widespread support from both public and private sectors.
Ultimately, it also brought DTLB the much-deserved attention that it continually warrants. One of the hardest things for POW! WOW! was to find appropriate walls as canvases for the artists. It took quite a bit of effort in the beginning, as street art was still considered graffiti by many, but once the mayor’s office gave us the thumbs up, everything started to fall into place.
Organizations such as the Long Beach Museum of Art, Downtown Long Beach Associates, City Fabrick and the CVB [Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau] gave us so much encouragement, support and money to make it all a reality. Business and building owners around the city signed on to make our first ever POW! WOW! in Long Beach a resounding success. We are indeed pleased that as a true new kid on the block, POW! WOW! Long Beach was able to contribute to the already robust art scene in the city.
We will continue to be actively involved in being part of the rich texture of Long Beach.
This is a very exciting time for City Place and Downtown Long Beach. With the area’s current renaissance, we are pleased to be a part of the movement with the repurposing and repositioning of City Place.
This is a nearly four-year, three-phase, multi-million dollar project that will transform Downtown Long Beach.
The first phase of the project focuses on the areas from 3rd Street between Pine Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, and Promenade North between 3rd Street and 4th Street. Harvey Milk Park will also play a great role in the new district.
The project builds on the existing foundation and will make it better by integrating into the adjacent downtown, and eventually repurpose the six-block area into a vibrant mixed-use district featuring a hub of unique restaurants, businesses and retail for all the residents of Long Beach to enjoy.
Longtime Long Beach-based Studio One Eleven and P+R Architects designed the new project and will become a tenant. They will experience firsthand the benefits of their work when moving from their current location on West Ocean Boulevard.
The downtown area is flourishing with new activity and growth. Together with Studio One Eleven, we made every effort to create the right balance of work, eat and play that will enhance the existing surroundings and appeal to today’s audiences.
Along with repurposing and enhancing the shopping center, we are repositioning the new district to offer a distinct guest and employee experience. City Place will also take on a new name with the help of the community. Together with the DLBA, an online public forum has been created at www.Facebook.com/CityPlacLongBeach to assist in renaming the new downtown district.
To participate, simply go to the Facebook page now through January 4 and provide your suggestion under the “Rename City Place” post pinned at the top. Project renderings and summaries are also provided for review.
For their assistance with this project, I want to extend a special thanks to Mayor Robert Garcia; Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez; Michael Bohn, senior principal at Studio One Eleven; City Manager Pat West; and DLBA President and CEO Kraig Kojian.
And a sincere thank you to the residents of Downtown – whose input and friendships have been invaluable. Each has contributed to the vision of this project in extraordinary ways. Your dedication to Long Beach and imagination for a vibrant and resurging downtown has been crucial to the redesign of this shopping center.
Studio One Eleven has always been isolated on the upper floors of a high rise in Downtown Long Beach (DTLB) – and strangely, that’s part of the reason we’re moving to City Place. Beyond the repositioning of the entire space, which we’re overseeing, the move is consistent with our mission to rebuild communities. In other words: our move will revitalize two entire city blocks. Together with P+R Architects, we will bring 125 design professionals to the neighborhood next October. By investing over $2 million into the area, we anticipate to leverage at least another $5 million of investment.
In short: the chance to transform a bland shopping center into a vibrant component of DTLB’s growing dynamism was too attractive to walk away from.
We were inspired by the vibrancy developing along The Promenade south of 3rd Street. With that, for the first time in our history, we’ll have street front exposure on both 3rd Street and The Promenade with the corner spaces dedicated to future restaurants to help activate the street and draw people northward from the Promenade.
Fortunately, Tony Shooshani and our side shared the same vision from day one, a vision that has challenged us to leverage every opportunity possible. We’re not just talking about improved aesthetics and design; we’re talking about accommodating cycling, sitting, walking, eating, relaxing, art installations and public gatherings. Improvements to pedestrian paseos, the Third Street bicycle track and Harvey Milk Park help to expand the influence of the district into the surrounding urban fabric of Long Beach.
It shouldn’t be shocking that in 2004, I once wrote about City Place after its then-new rehab in an article for the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design entitled “The Good, The Bad and The Monotony.” The article outlined the positive contributions the project makes to the urban revitalization of downtown, but also notes it deserves more sympathy than praise for opportunities lost. Who would have known that less than 10 years later, my firm and I would have the chance to “get it right?”
Here’s to moving forward, Long Beach.
Downtown Long Beach is poised for a resurgence of investment for new residential and commercial uses, much like was seen in the last development cycle. I remember in 2005, our project, Shoreline Gateway, was one of 15 high-rise towers slated for development in downtown. I have witnessed, and our firm has been pleased to participate in, the transformation of this city. During the Great Recession, the city invested in streetscape, its transit corridor, its public policy and regulating documents – all paving the way to a more streamlined and efficient system that promotes contextually sensitive development and thoughtful design.
AndersonPacific, LLC has been invested in Long Beach since 2004. Its principals have been active in the community, serving on the Downtown Long Beach Associates Board, various committees, and participated in the public process to institute the Downtown Plan – a focus on infill development, pedestrian connectivity, sustainability and recreation. We see the potential of this great urban waterfront downtown, and it is personally rewarding to see the positive momentum continue to build upon the successes each year.
Our firm, along with our partner, Ledcor Properties, Inc., is developing The Current – a 17-story, 223-unit luxury rental tower with 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail – which is scheduled to open April 2016. The Current is the first new apartment tower built in Long Beach in 50 years. The second phase called “Shoreline Gateway” will include a 35-story residential tower with ground floor retail, with a publicly accessible plaza between the towers to promote active uses at the street level. The project will be the first LEED residential towers in the City of Long Beach, with a focus on healthy living.
We chose to invest in Downtown Long Beach as it is well-positioned as a coastal urban downtown, centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange County, accessible by mass transit, with a myriad of walkable amenities, and a vibrant entertainment and arts community. Long Beach represents the only high-rise downtown between San Diego and San Francisco, which offers a tremendous opportunity for smart growth, infill projects and a continued vibrant urban community.