Land movers parked in the corner of the property where Long Beach Senior will be built during the groundbreaking at the 900 block of East Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

More affordable housing is on its way to Long Beach, as officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a forthcoming 68-unit complex on Wednesday.

Mercy Housing’s four-story Long Beach Senior affordable housing development, at 901-941 E. Pacific Coast Highway, will provide housing for seniors ages 55 and up who either have limited incomes or are veterans who have struggled with homelessness.

“As a veteran, I am happy this project will help my fellow veterans,” Long Beach Senior Citizen Advisory Commissioner Robert Finney said.

Of the 68 units that will be made available, 15 will be reserved for those whose income is $19,725 or less, which is 25% of the area median income, according to the developer. Another 18 units will be for people with incomes at or below $23,670 annually, 25 will be reserved for people earning $31,560 or below, and nine will be for people with incomes of $47,340 and below, which is 60% of the area median income, according to the developer.

One unit will be reserved for an on-site manager.

“This is a population that absolutely needs this project,” Los Angeles County Development Authority Executive Director Emilio Salas said at the groundbreaking Wednesday morning.

The ground floor of the property will serve as an amenity hub that will include a lounge, bike workshop and storage space and a tenant-driven “community benefit space.” Its second floor features an outdoor courtyard alongside units to provide tenants with outdoor space. There will also be 38 parking spaces for residents, visitors and staff.

Many of the features of the property seek to accomplish a daunting task: serving the development’s residents while placating concerns from residents in the single-family neighborhood to the north of the site.

A list of these features—solicited from community feedback from Sept. 30, 2019 to April 30, 2020—includes a 5-foot widening plus improvements to the small alleyway separating the project from the homes, placement of the courtyard on the north side of the project and a building facade design “inspired by local Long Beach architecture.”

“We deserve the kind of housing that people need and feel proud to live in,” Councilwoman Suely Saro, whose 6th District includes the development, said. “This area is going to get transformed.”

Architects for the project Studio One Eleven have a history of successful affordable housing developments in Long Beach, including The Annex, The Court, and the Senior Arts Colony. In particular, the Senior Colony was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as the “Multi-Family Project of the Year” in 2014.

The leasing process is anticipated to begin next spring, with the first residents moving in during fall 2023. For more information on the project, visit longbeachsenior.org.

Christian May-Suzuki

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