Long Beach Announces Plan to Develop Entire Waterfront, Transform City Skyline
Anyone who thinks there’s a lot of construction and development happening in Long Beach right now should just wait to see what’s coming in the next few years, Mayor Robert Garcia said during a Tuesday, Aug. 28 event.
The presentation was Garcia’s second iteration of “Building a Better Long Beach,” in which he updated the city on the status of about 70 ongoing development projects, as well as revealing a few new ones.
New project announcements included a plan to develop the entire waterfront south of Ocean Boulevard — an area that was excluded from the city’s Downtown Plan.
Garcia said Long Beach will begin putting together a team “in the next few weeks” to create a waterfront development plan that will mirror the Downtown Plan. The team will include residents, business owners and partners like the Convention Center and the Olympics.
“The waterfront is critical to connecting the city to our coast, and so we have an opportunity to rethink what and how and where things should go in our waterfront,” Garcia said.
As part of that plan, he said a specific focus will be developing what’s known as the “elephant lot,” which is currently used for parking just east of the Long Beach Convention Center. Garcia said the lot is the biggest parcel of undeveloped land in the city. He noted the space is big enough to house L.A. Live.
“The city has not touched this parcel in a very long time, but we are going to be,” he said. “We’ll be putting together a list of community leaders to start envisioning what will actually go on this land and what we should develop on this land.”
Although the lot is part of the tidelands, meaning the California Coastal Commission gets a say in whatever happens there, Garcia said recent decisions the commission has made signal that it may be more open to a wider array of uses, such as housing, than it has been in the past.
“I really want the group to help guide, and I think the community to guide, what’s on the site,” Garcia said. “For me, a home run is — as part of our master plan on the waterfront — is that we could include housing, but I think that’s something that’s left to be seen.”
Another announcement Garcia made was that a new project will claim the title of the tallest building in Long Beach – after two others temporarily take the lead.
The tallest tower the city is currently planning will be on the land at 600 West Broadway behind One World Trade Center. Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow bought the parcel and has proposed a building that will be a minimum of 40 stories but could be as high as 43 stories, Garcia said. The tower will house 694 residential units.
“This will be the first tower you’ll see as you’re coming over the bridge from Los Angeles,” Garcia said. “So it’ll be pretty striking.”
Before that skyscraper is completed, however, Garcia highlighted two other towers that will temporarily hold the title of Long Beach’s tallest. The first will be a 35-story tower at 777 East Ocean Boulevard as part of the Shoreline Gateway project, which will break ground later this year.
After that, a 36-story tower will be built as part of the new Long Beach Civic Center at 411-415 West Ocean Boulevard. Construction on that project will begin immediately after city operations move to the new City Hall and the current building is demolished, which is scheduled for the spring of 2019.
“The Long Beach skyline is going to look very different five years from now,” Garcia said. “It’s already looking different from a lot of the buildings that are currently being built, but as far as the next level of projects — they are all taller than the current projects that we have.”
He added, “If you drive around the city, especially downtown, you’re kind of seeing construction everywhere, right? And I think what’s going to happen in the future is: You’re not going to see less construction. You’re going to see more.