Pedestrians pass by Shoreline Gateway, a 315-unit residential development that is the tallest building in the city at 35 stories, Friday, March 19, 2021. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The Shoreline Gateway Tower, on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue, has officially become the tallest building in Long Beach.

The project has experienced delays and increased costs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped developers Anderson Pacific LLC, Ledcor Properties and their partners from continuing construction on the building, which is scheduled to start pre-leasing in August.

“Every day is a different challenge,” said Jason Silver, Ledcor’s senior director for California.

From delays in the delivery of window glass from a Chinese province on lockdown in the early days of the pandemic, to coronavirus infections among workers on the site, continuing construction on the residential tower has been costly and lengthy.

But, “we were pretty determined to keep the project running as is,” Silver said. “We did talk to our contractor to get a feel for where everyone is, but everyone wanted to continue forward.”

That included managing an average of one to two cases of coronavirus infections per week among the 200-250 workers who are on-site on any given day, according to Silver.

“They want to maintain their job, their income,” he said. “So what we did is we increased the amount of cleaning supplies.”

Increased cleaning, weekly testing and a slower pace of construction to allow workers a minimum of 6 feet distance at all times has cost the partnership of developers. “We’re well into the six figures,” Silver said of the amount spent on cleaning supplies and PPE alone.

Overall, the cost of the project has increased by approximately $1 million as a result of the pandemic, according to the developers. This figure includes additional interest payments as well as measures taken to mitigate the risk of infection among workers.

To make up for the additional spending, the development group analyzed every item in the original project budget for potential savings, from choosing slightly less expensive flooring and tiling, to changing the construction schedule in response to delays in the delivery of materials.

“We looked at every little nook and cranny that we could to maintain a very high quality structure and end product, while coming up with the savings,” Silver said.

Historically low interest rates also helped soften the financial blow.

While delays and the associated costs couldn’t be avoided completely, Silver said the team behind the project has been able to limit the impact of the pandemic substantially. As it stands, the tower is scheduled to open between July and September; the exact date is yet to be determined.

“We’re definitely anxious to open up this building. It’s going to be a trendsetter for sure,” Silver said.

Leasing for both residential units and ground floor retail spaces has yet to commence. The selection of retail tenants in particular will require careful consideration, Silver said.

“We want to make sure that our tenancy there is not just for the building itself, but is a neighborhood amenity,” he said.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the level of interest from prospective tenants.

“There is a pulse that’s coming back in the retail market, but it’s so slow,” he said. “There’s so much uncertainty, especially for the retailers and restaurateurs.”

Ryan Altoon, executive vice president of Anderson Pacific, said many prospective tenants might want to wait until it’s possible to tour the facility before they apply for a lease.

“It’s too nascent, because they can’t quite see what it’s going to deliver,” he said. “Typically retailers like to actually see and kick the tires on a space, tour, and really understand all the aspects of it.”

Still, the development group has already received several unsolicited requests from “key retailers trying to expand to Long Beach,” Altoon said.

The building is already guaranteed to offer a number of features that are likely to attract residential and commercial tenants.

Aside from being the tallest building in the city with an unobstructed view of the ocean, the Shoreline Gateway Tower—together with the neighboring project The Current, built by the same development group—is also Long Beach’s first LEED Gold neighborhood development.

LEED is a voluntary program, administered by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, that measures the sustainability of individual and neighborhood developments in construction, operation and maintenance.

Depending on the number of points a project scores on the program’s list of sustainable elements, it is awarded a certified, silver, gold or platinum designation.

“With these two buildings we’ll have a fully-sustainable community,” Altoon said. “To put this flag down in Long Beach and also have it be the tallest tower is kind of a beacon for what the future can hold.”