By land, by sea and by air, Long Beach is moving into the 21st Century.
Commercial and industrial growth is following a pattern of quality in a wave of quantity.
The downtown area is seeing most of its growth in the commercial area--office, retail and that portion of residential development that consists of hotels, condominiums and apartments. While residential projects, seemingly, are springing up everywhere, industrial growth is clustered around the Long Beach Airport and the freeway corridors.
Several factors are pushing this development, led by a very active directed-growth program by the city government, with the cooperation and aid of individual citizens and companies.
Another major factor is the vitality of Long Beach harbor. Its business surpasses that of neighboring Los Angeles harbor, making Long Beach the largest port on the West Coast. Combined, they become the second largest harbor complex in the United States, surpassed only by the New York/New Jersey port complex. Earlier this year, it was announced that there is more overseas trade out of the West Coast than the East Coast and the Long Beach/Los Angeles port complex handled 60% of that.
Intimately connected to the harbor and just across Ocean Avenue from the shoreline, the $319-million, 2.2-million-square-foot World Trade Center is to go into construction next summer. Also, prospects for the $49-million federal building linking the World Trade Center and the new Civic Center are looking brighter all the time.
The harbor, the expanded Long Beach Municipal Airport and the city's four freeways promote commercial and industrial growth, erasing the city's old image ("Iowa's only seaport" and "the country's largest retirement community"), and lending credence to the somewhat grandiose--but defensible--nickname suggested by the city's Economic Development Task Force: "America's Window on the Pacific Rim."
The Long Beach Community Development Department last month listed many of the major structures built or renovated in the downtown area since 1975. It has 16 entries.
Six are governmental:
--The 188,700-square-foot, 14-story City Hall in the 362,964-square-foot Civic Center;
--The 158,000-square-foot, three-story State Building;
--The Long Beach Convention Center with a 14,500-square-foot arena, 75,000 square feet of exhibit space, an 88,000-square-foot lobby, two theaters totaling 3,503 seats and 20 meeting rooms;
--The Downtown Marina, 1,694 boat slips, and the 132-slip Shoreline Harbor Marina, with a combined development value of $35.8 million, and
--Shoreline Park, 30 acres and a 10-acre lagoon, containing an RV park with laundry and shower facilities, $6 million development value.
Two are shopping centers:
--Long Beach Plaza, 685,000 square feet of net leasable space and 2,800 parking spaces, $100 million development value, and
--Shoreline Village specialty center, 60 shops, two restaurants and several fast-food establishments, $7.5 million development value.
Two are hotels:
--Holiday Inn, 220 rooms, development value $13 million, and
--Hyatt Regency Long Beach, 542 rooms, development value $58 million.
Others are office buildings:
--Sea Spray Gardens, 32,500 gross square feet of office condominiums, development value $6 million;
--Downtown Plaza by IDM Corp., 96,000 square feet, six stories, development value $15 million;
--Home Savings & Loan, 107,000 gross square feet, 10 stores, development value $8 million;
--Crocker Plaza, 193,000 gross square feet, 12 stories, development value $12 million;
--University Group Headquarters, 135,000 square feet, 10 stories, development value $18 million, and
--Southern California Edison, 210,000 square feet of office, retail and industrial space, development value $12.5 million.
The same agency reported on redevelopment activities proposed or contracted:
--State-Wide Developers, 90 condominium units (proposed);
--Urban Pacific, Seapointe Apartments, 158 residential units, $10 million (under construction);
--A three-block commercial-retail center (development under study);
--IDM Corp., 100 Broadway Office Building on the former Buffums Department Store site, 200,000 square feet in two six-story towers, $40 million (under construction);
--Bank of America, Enlow Building, 61,500 square feet, $8 million (contracted);
--International Plaza, $70 million (contracted but delayed by litigation);
--Investments Limited, renovation of Landmark Building (under negotiation);
--Ramada Renaissance Hotel, 380 rooms, $36 million (under construction);
--Shoreline Square, 400,000 square feet of office space, 500 hotel rooms (site acquisition under way);
--Harbor View Towers, 1 million square feet, 380 residential units, $145 million (acquisition and relocation under way), and
--Cherry Hill Development Co., Pacific Plaza, 60,000 square feet of office space, (developer has 180-day exclusive right to negotiate).