Long Beach reaches for the sky with new downtown towers

Plans include 700-unit mixed-use tower near convention center

Mayor Robert Garcia and The Waterfront (Credit: VisitCalifornia, Wikipedia)
Mayor Robert Garcia and The Waterfront (Credit: VisitCalifornia, Wikipedia)

Long Beach is reaching ever-higher in its era-defining development boom.

In a public presentation on Tuesday, Mayor Robert Garcia outlined a taller, denser future for the city on the southern coastline of Los Angeles County. He announced the city’s plans to redevelop a parking lot — known as the “elephant lot” — near the Long Beach Convention Center, and a mixed-use tower with 700 residential units that will reach 40-43 stories.

The mixed-use tower is planned for 600 Broadway Blvd., on the site of a parking lot behind the World Trade Center. It will be the tallest building in Long Beach when it’s complete, the mayor said. The Port of Long Beach sold the land to Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company.

The “elephant lot,” which is about 13 acres, would be part of a larger plan to rezone and develop the downtown coastal area. It is in a designated Tidelands area, so any project will require approval from the California Coastal Commission.

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Garcia also said the city will form a group of community leaders in the next few weeks to create a waterfront development plan and decide the best use for the space.

The mayor outlined details for more than 75 construction projects in the city’s pipeline as part of his “Building a Better Long Beach” program. Most of the projects had been previously announced, and Garcia said many of them are at various stages in the development process.

Next month, crews are expected to start construction on the Shoreline Gateway hotel project, which will include a 35-story east tower. Afterward, construction will begin on a 36-story tower, which will become part of the Long Beach Civic Center at 411-415 W. Ocean Blvd. Construction will begin in the spring, immediately after city operations move to the new city hall and the current building is demolished, according to the Press Telegram.

The steady rise of apartment building sale prices in Los Angeles over the last few years drove multifamily investors south to Long Beach looking for better bargains. Multifamily properties in the city have doubled since 2014. The current construction boom is estimated to be valued at more than $3.5 billion, according to the city. It will include 5,000 residential units – of which 800 units will be designated as affordable.

The Real Deal reported in July that IMT Residential acquired The Gallery 421 complex from Lyon Capital Ventures of Newport Beach for $123.4 million. The 291-unit apartment building, which has ground floor retail, is at 421 W. Broadway Blvd. It represents the highest-dollar amount paid per unit in Long Beach this year, at $424,000.