Plans to redevelop a North Long Beach industrial property into a large warehouse can move forward, as the Planning Commission approved the project at its Thursday meeting.
The new development, which will include the demolition of all existing structures on the site and the construction of a new 303,970 square-foot concrete industrial warehouse building, will take up nearly half of the 14.19-acre property at 5900 Cherry Ave.
The approval comes seven months after the commercial real estate advisory and services firm Newmark Group announced the sale of the property, which was owned by Plains All American Pipeline, an oil and natural gas company. The property was sold for $50.7 million to Link Logistics Real Estate, a subsidiary of Blackstone that specializes in last-mile logistics properties.
The building is slated to be 51 feet high, and plans include 9,000 square feet of office space along with 338 parking spaces and 79 truck parking stalls, with different access points for trucks and passenger vehicles to reduce conflict, said project planner Amy Harbin.
The projected future economic impacts of the project include $370 million to be injected into the local economy from 2023 to 2027, according to Yemi Alade, a Link Logistics Real Estate development manager.
Over this five-year period, the project is estimated to increase economic output by $540 million, and Link is projected to contribute $6 million in property and state sale taxes, Alade said.
As a result of the construction, 120 jobs are expected to be created, and over 500 jobs will come as a result of project operations, said Alade.
Several members of labor and trade unions spoke in favor of the project during the meeting, citing the potential for employment and economic growth for construction workers. Working on the project, union members noted, will offer living wages and health benefits and will support an apprenticeship program for those entering the field.
But numerous community members also expressed concern over potential environmental impacts, increased noise and traffic.
“My residents’ neighbors have been fighting with cancer, throat cancer, lung cancer, so this should be reconsidered, please,” said Renee Rios, who lives near a similar project and is president of the Longwood Neighborhood Association. “I do understand that there’s jobs on the line, and I appreciate all the men that go out there and work and bring money to families. I understand that, but at the long run, it’s going to impact everyone’s lives.”
While the Health and Human Services Department is generally given an opportunity to comment on projects when they are first submitted, comments are not typically given on this type of project, according to city staff.
Although who the future tenants will be is unclear, Urban Crossroads, an organization that provides traffic, air and noise consulting services, conducted air quality analyses on both the construction and operational sides of the project and determined that all emissions created will be well below the threshold set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. That threshold is the standard used to determine whether or not a project has significant air quality impacts.
Specifically, Urban Crossroads determined that the project’s construction will create a daily maximum of 44 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions, or NOx—a precursor to smog that comes from diesel emissions and that’s linked to numerous health concerns—while the warehouse’s operation will produce a daily maximum of 16 pounds. The AQMD’s threshold for construction is 100 pounds daily, while its threshold for operations is 55.
All other pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and sulphur oxides, were also determined to be well below the thresholds for both construction and operation.
Regarding traffic concerns, 94 daily truck trips are anticipated, with industrial activities generally avoiding peak commute times, said Charlene So of Urban Crossroads.
Link, for its part, said it hopes to partner with the local community to address any concerns.
“In addition to being a positive force for economic growth in Long Beach, Link is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate,” the company said in a statement. “We are excited to provide funding for the Neyham Neighborhood Association to assist with building improvements and beautification projects in the local neighborhoods to better serve the community as a whole.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment from Link Logistics Real Estate.