The Shaun Lumachi Innovation Center celebrated its grand opening today. Courtesy Photo.

After years of planning, a new facility with state-of-the-art amenities for small businesses has finally opened in Downtown.

Together with Long Beach City College and BLANKSPACES—a company that runs a community of small business coworking centers in Los Angeles—the City of Long Beach celebrated the grand opening of the Shaun Lumachi Innovation Center today.

Located at 309 Pine Ave. at the corner of Pine and Third Avenue, the two-story city owned property will serve as a BLANKSPACES-operated coworking space that will also provide LBCC-based resources and programs. Offerings at the 4,888 square-foot-facility include the International Business Accelerator, which offers business advising services and workshops designed to help entrepreneurs start their companies with an international approach.

The accelerator is one of several in the city, and is run out of LBCC’s Small Business Development Center. The Development Center is part of a larger effort across Los Angeles to provide small business owners the tools they need to be successful through workshops and other programs.

“Long Beach City College looks forward to offering training programs and counseling through LBCC’s Small Business Development Center to the entrepreneurs who will utilize this space,” Long Beach Community College District Superintendent-President Mike Muñoz said in a release announcing the opening.

Several improvements were made to the Innovation Center prior to its opening, including a new façade, reenergized modern work and meetings spaces, and the re-servicing of an important elevator.

“I am thrilled about the renovations made to the facility which will support collaboration, spark creativity and advance innovation in small business entrepreneurship [in the downtown area],” Councilmember Mary Zendejas said. “The Innovation Center will bolster inclusion and equity for underrepresented business owners by providing resources, programs and technical assistance through the SBDC.”

The opening comes following years of planning and improvements after the city first formalized its partnerships with LBCC and BLANKSPACES in 2017. Construction delays were compounded by COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

In that decision to accept the partnership, former city councilmember Lena Gonzalez proposed the center—then named the Small Business Development Center—be renamed the Shaun Lumachi Innovation Center.

Lumachi co-founded the Long Beach Post in 2007, and showed vigorous dedication to the city through his work as a community leader. Lumachi died in 2011 in an automobile accident in Florida.

“We’re proud to rename the former Small Business Development Center in honor of Shaun Lumachi, who was both a leading innovator in our community and an amazing friend and mentor of mine,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.

“This is a fitting recognition and will continue Shaun’s legacy of service for years to come.”

Christian May-Suzuki

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