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Trade Center to Be Launched at Busy Long Beach Port

July 06, 1986

Trumpets, a 16-foot hot-air balloon, 5,000 small balloons and eight confetti cannons will signal the start of work Wednesday on the Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center/Long Beach.

"The (ground-breaking) ceremonies will also honor the World Trade Center's sponsor, the Port of Long Beach, on the occasion of its 75th anniversary of service to the Southern California shipping industry," said Michael J. Choppin, president and chairman of the board of IDM Corp., managing partner of the World Trade Center's joint-venture development team of IDM/Kajima International Inc.

An estimated 70% of the Pacific Rim trade is coming to the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In 1981, customs duty collected through the two ports amounted to about $1.14 billion. In 1985, the figure was just under $2 billion, representing a 57% increase in four years.

The $550-million trade center, on a four-square-block area along Ocean Boulevard in the central business district of Long Beach, is expected to complement this activity.

The Phase 1 tower will consist of 500,000 square feet of office space, 70,000 square feet of retail/restaurant area and the World Trade Center Plaza, which will be joined by three additional towers and a hotel planned in the city-within-a-city complex.

The first phase is due to be completed during the third quarter of 1988. "But we are already better than 50% committed on the first tower (in leasing)," a spokeswoman for the developers, said, "and those who have committed represent a broad spectrum of companies."

Choppin envisions the trade center as creating "an international business focal point located in the area most accessible and convenient to both shipping and business, the greater Los Angeles/Long Beach port district."

Listing the speakers scheduled at the ground breaking, Choppin added, "Having these individuals honor the festivities by attending demonstrates the significance of the World Trade Center on the region's economy."

Among the speakers expected to appear are California Sens. Alan Cranston and Pete Wilson, along with Rep. Glenn M. Anderson (D-Long Beach) and Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach).

Also, Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana, Long Beach Mayor Ernie Kell, Japan's Consul General Taizo Watanabe, as well as Kunio Uchino, executive vice president, Kajima Corp.; Choppin, and Christopher R. Pook, president of the Long Beach Grand Prix Assn. and master of ceremonies. The ground breaking will begin at 4 p.m. at Ocean Boulevard at Golden Avenue.

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