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LONG BEACH : Agency Allocates Funds for Aquarium Design

October 13, 1994|JOHN CANALIS

The city's Redevelopment Agency has allocated $2.3 million toward the design of a proposed aquarium that many officials view as the key to an ambitious downtown revitalization plan.

The money will be used to pay architects and designers to develop plans for the aquarium and conduct a feasibility study, said Susan F. Shick, Long Beach's community development director. The agency's decision marks the first time the city has set aside funds for the project.

The Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific is expected to anchor the Queensway Bay Project, a waterfront development of stores, restaurants and entertainment spots, said Robert J. Paternoster, project director.

Preliminary designs and final cost estimates for the aquarium should be ready in spring, 1995, Paternoster said. The state's Coastal Commission is expected to review the Queensway Bay project in May. If the plan is approved, construction of the aquarium could begin in September, 1995, with an opening slated for 1998.

The $100-million aquarium is expected to be financed largely through bond sales, Paternoster said.

Kajima International Inc., a Japan-based developer that built an $84-million aquarium in Tampa, Fla., is in charge of the project. Two firms--Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis, and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum--will serve as architects. They also worked on the Tampa aquarium.

Boston-based Joseph A. Wetzel Associates Inc., which has worked on aquariums in New Jersey and Texas, will design the exhibits.

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