View Full Version : LONG BEACH | Development News
December 13th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Broadway & Main Towers
function: Residential (1,300 units)
location: current surface parkinglot north of World Trade Center & Long Beach Hilton
Tower 1 - floors: 55
Tower 2 - floors: 45
Tower 3 - floors: 35
developer: Molasky Pacific California LLC
function: Residential (310 units)
location: northwest corner of Ocean and Alamitos
Gateway Tower - 35 Stories (417 feet)
Terrace Tower - 21 Stories (233 feet)
Courtyard Tower - 12 Stories (124 feet)
developer: Anderson Pacific LLC
432 Condo Tower
Ensemble Real Estate is proposing a 281 foot 24 story tower with 107 condo units.
432 West Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, California 90802
Ensamble Real Estate is proposing a 250 foot 24 story tower with 113 condo units.
207 Seaside Way
Long Beach, California 90802
150 W. Ocean
function: Residential (216 units)
function: Residential (155 units)
URBAN GROWTH LONG BEACH / RELATED COMPANIES
Tower “One” is a 22-story loft- condominium building.
Tower “Two” is a 14-story soft-loft condominium building
West Ocean Long Beach
function: Residential (246 units)
Tower 1 - floors: 30
Tower 2 - floors: 20
Press Telegram Lofts
October Five Development is proposing two 22 story towers:
Ensemble Real Estate is proposing a 180 foot 15 story condo tower with 176 condo units.
500 West Broadway
Long Beach, California 90802
http://www.ensemblehealthcare.com/uploads/project/Broadway%20Tower_1_thumb.jpg http://www.ensemblehealthcare.com/uploads/project/Broadway%20Tower_2_thumb.jpg http://www.ensemblehealthcare.com/uploads/project/Broadway%20Tower_3_thumb.jpg
15-story Tower with 96 units over live/work units on the ground level 6-level underground parking
Marriott's Residence Inn
Ensemble Real Estate is proposing a 115 foot 11 story hotel.
Grand Prix Place
Adaptive reuse of the former Edison Building which was also used as City Hall East for a short while:
Hotel Esterel at The Promenade
function: Hotel (12,500 square feet of retail and 39 units)
Sierra Suites Hotel
function: Hotel (140 suites)
location: Rainbow Harbor
developer: Diversified Realty
function: Mixed-use (5,196 square feet of retail and 62 units)
location: southeast corner of 1st St. & Promenade
Promenade Walk - The Olson Company
function: Mixed-use (13,000 square feet of retail/shopkeeper and 97 units)
Promenade Lofts - Lyon Realty Advisors
function: Mixed-use (11,200 square feet of retail and 104 units)
location: southeast corner of 3rd St. and Broadway
4th Street Gateway
function: Mixed-use (30 units)
location: southeast of Long Beach and 4th
December 13th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Acutally the West Ocean towers aren't proposed, they're nearing completion.:D How many of those other towers have already been approved? Is there a groundbreaking date set for any of those?
FROM LOS ANGELES
December 14th, 2006, 03:37 AM
December 14th, 2006, 04:57 AM
So many cranes all over the LBC*
March 21st, 2007, 06:12 AM
I thought Long Beach was more happening than a Dec. 14th update. :(
March 21st, 2007, 07:18 AM
it is :D I just dont think any of the LA forumers live there or frequent the city
March 23rd, 2007, 07:45 AM
well i live in Downey which is like less than 15 mins away but last time i was downtown was in 2005.....it is cool though all the development happening there though.....pretty cool :]
March 24th, 2007, 04:28 PM
This is really outdated, theres alot more happening in LB then it shows over here. Its really exciting to go through DTLB, as I do often. its so exciting how much stuff is going on there.
March 25th, 2007, 12:36 AM
I don't live far from LB but haven't been in town in over a year. Probably looks pretty different.
March 26th, 2007, 07:51 AM
well i live in Downey which is like less than 15 mins away but last time i was downtown was in 2005.....it is cool though all the development happening there though.....pretty cool :]
What............... your 15 minutes away and your last visit was in 2005? Dude do you ever leave your room and explore?
March 27th, 2007, 10:03 PM
This is really outdated, theres alot more happening in LB then it shows over here. Its really exciting to go through DTLB, as I do often. its so exciting how much stuff is going on there.
Just curious, what exactly is outdated? What is going on in LB that isn't here? There isn't a lot (two words) going on that isn't here. :bash:
April 23rd, 2007, 08:44 AM
I thought I would put up a photo update on downtown LB. These pictures were taken on Saturday
West Ocean, the taller tower will be Long Beach's tallest residential tower and second tallest tower in Long Beach:
Site for OceanAire Homes by Lennar:
New restaruant for the Pike, Famous Daves BBQ:
Site of the Hotel Esterel, ground should be breaking sometime in lat April or early May:
Site of the Lyon Promenade project, ground broken but stalled:
Promenade projects (Lennar's Pacifica and Olson's Promenade Walk):
4th and Long Beach mixed use development... :D
Site of the Art Exchange site:
Site of the MTA Block:
Looking West on Broadway:
New eateries along Broadway (promenade adjacent)
Ohhhh, Pinkberry!!! :tup:
Site of Edgewater on Ocean, nothing as usual... :hell:
New restaurant called "Jar at Long Beach" same owner from the Jar in West Hollywood, this restaurant is fronting Ocean Blvd and has a fire pit, very hot!
Finish the tour with skyline pictures taken from the Queen Mary on Sunday:
April 24th, 2007, 05:09 AM
Downtown Long Beach amazes me everytime I pass through. Downtown LAs great and all, but LB gives you this feel of homeliness and yet it always looks a bit different everytime you go, which is nearly weekly for me. Love it there. :banana:
April 25th, 2007, 01:43 AM
DTLB is great, and theres always something to do there, I love it
April 25th, 2007, 04:21 AM
any news on Broadway and Main. that might be my favorite project in LA.
April 28th, 2007, 12:11 AM
Update to Broadway and Main:
Looks like they removed the "fin" attached to each of the towers and instead added a third tower:
Here is the website from the developer, although they don't have the right description as it references only one 20 story tower and they show two new renderings with three TALL towers.
April 28th, 2007, 04:54 AM
Firm offers $41 million to buy Queen Mary lease
By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
April 27, 2007
A Santa Monica shopping center developer has bid $41 million to purchase the lease for the Queen Mary and surrounding grounds in Long Beach, with plans to refurbish the ship and develop the landing as a retail-entertainment complex.
O&S Holdings' is the first bid received for taking over the property operated by Queen's Seaport Development Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in March 2005. Court-appointed bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg said several other developers have been considering the property and could submit bids before an offer is selected this summer.
But those developers would have to bid at least $2.5 million more than O&S and meet several other criteria to be selected. O&S bid the minimum $41 million, the amount necessary to pay off Queen's Seaport's lenders and other creditors.
Ehrenberg said the 66-year lease, which has 58 years remaining on it, has been conservatively appraised at $56 million.
Rachel Forman, O&S Holdings' vice president of corporate marketing, said preliminary plans for the area include refurbishing and developing a "retail and entertainment, tourist-driven development."
The adjacent property now includes a welcoming terminal for Carnival Cruise Lines and a number of smaller businesses and shops. Ehrenberg said the parking area could be developed to add more entertainment, dining, specialty retail, hotel and meeting space. "It's envisioned as a capstone for the city of Long Beach, to tie the waterfront" to the rest of the city, Ehrenberg said.
O&S has developed 80 other shopping centers and community centers around the U.S.
April 28th, 2007, 05:07 AM
so on point!, a day after i ask about an update, you have new renders! dont forget to change the first post.
May 2nd, 2007, 01:05 AM
New image of the City Hall East (Grand Prix Place) adaptive re-use proposed design:
FROM LOS ANGELES
May 2nd, 2007, 07:12 AM
If they added a third tower that means that the market in LB has gained strenght! And three towers look better, the buildings in the middle of the original design never quite fitted with the whole complex IMO.
FROM LOS ANGELES
May 2nd, 2007, 07:14 AM
May 14th, 2007, 07:21 PM
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal Seeks Taxpayer-Paid Feasibility Study For East-West Streetcar Service Linking Downtown And "Vital Points of Interest"
(May 14, 2007) -- Following-through on her comments at the April 17 City Council meeting urging reduced parking requirements for new downtown density and developments coupled with city "investment" in public transit, 2nd district Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal has agendized a May 15 item seeking Council approval for spending taxpayer funds (a city manager contract) for an "independent study of the feasibility in developing a streetcar service with east-west linkage to downtown and vital points of interest in Long Beach that may include California State University Long Beach, Long Beach City College, East Village Arts District, Long Beach Memorial, St. Mary's Hospital and our small business corridors."
Councilwoman Lowenthal's agendizing memo specifies no maximum sum or budgeted source for the study, whose goals she says should include, but not be limited to, the following:
Complements other transportation options offered by Long Beach Transit.
Provides a green transportation alternative for moving people between City landmarks
Determines the physical and financial viability of establishing a streetcar line.
Fits the scale and traffic patterns of existing neighborhoods.
Reduces short inner-city auto trips, parking demand and traffic congestion.
During her April 17 Council remarks, reported at length at the time by LBReport.com, Councilwoman Lowenthal said in part:
So if we say we need higher density in the downtown, well, we need to actually invest in what would require a higher density to come. And so why is it that Vancouver can have their developments park at such a lower rate that we think ours must? Why is it that Portland [OR] does it? And why those cities now and not us today?...
[I]...I want to live in a city where we can have a Manhattan of our own, or we can have a Vancouver or a Portland. What that may also mean is that we need to invest in other forms of transportation. I for one will be advocating for a light rail such as a streetcar that I saw in Portland. Nothing excited me more than that streetcar...
As background for her May 15 agendized request, Councilwoman Lowenthal tells the Council:
Throughout the nation, cities are rediscovering the benefits of streetcar systems linking emerging downtown business and residential districts with nearby points of interest such as universities, hospitals, retail corridors and tourist destinations. Streetcars are becoming the preferred mode of alternative transportation in dense urban centers, enabling people to park once then navigate a city's many sectors jumping on and off at will . The streetcar is serving as a catalyst for change and helping communities maximize their public/private investment . This is due in part to the fixed nature of the rail infrastructure, which implies permanence - generating confidence that it is going to be there for a long time . The rail system is also highly visible, with an easily understood route, and the quiet, pollution-free electric trolleys blend in well with the community.
Numerous cities, including Portland, Philadelphia, Little Rock, Tampa, Dallas and New Orleans have integrated streetcars into their existing transportation network using new low cost, low impact rail design and smaller cars that minimize changes to infrastructure and utilities.
As I mentioned during my travel report at our April 10th Council meeting, the City of Portland is emerging as a leader among U .S . cities by demonstrating its commitment to mobility through the implementation of alternative transportation options like the streetcar, which connects Portland State University with other parts of Portland, including its high-density residential and economic centers in downtown such as the Pearl District and South Waterfront . This innovative fusion of residential, arts, commercial and academic sectors attracts a creative class of individuals to the city's urban core and actively contributes to its longterm sustainability.
The Portland Streetcar is designed to fit the scale and traffic patterns of the neighborhoods through which it travels . Streetcar vehicles, manufactured by Skoda-Inekon in Plzen of the Czech Republic, are 2.46 meters (about 8 feet) wide and 20 meters long (about 66 feet) . They run in mixed traffic and, except at platform stops, accommodate existing curbside parking and loading . The Portland Streetcar is owned and operated by the City of Portland . A unique shallow 12-inch deep track slab design reduces the construction time and utility relocations . Maneuverability of the shorter and narrower Skoda vehicles has allowed the 8- foot wide track slab to be fitted to existing grades, limiting the scope of street and sidewalk reconstruction .
Long time residents of Long Beach will remember our own streetcars, which were fondly called "red cars" or "Blimps" due to their large size . Charles Rivers Drake, a new resident to Long Beach and a former employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, petitioned the city council to consider a plan for the creation of an electric interurban transit line connecting Long Beach and Los Angeles . Reaching a top speed of ten miles per hour, this "high speed" system was considered a sure-fire means of enticing potential residents and supporting a growing tourist industry. With the first run of the red car in 1902, Long Beach solidified its place among visitors as the "Coney Island of the West" . More trolley lines followed so that by 1927, Long Beach had over 30 miles of streetcar tracks offering 30 all-steel, open air cars that seated up to 64 passengers . Combined with the development of the harbor and discovery of oil in Signal Hill, the streetcar helped make Long Beach one of the fastest growing cities in the country .
The streetcar's return on the national scene has been dramatic as an urban circulator and economic development catalyst . Projects across the country have delivered hundreds of millions of dollars in private development investment for the communities they serve . A streetcar system with east-west linkage will attract more people to our downtown and waterfront areas and serve ongoing residential and commercial development.
June 8th, 2007, 01:35 AM
The Broadway and Main towers will defenitly (sp) change the long beach skyline for the better in the future.
June 11th, 2007, 03:27 AM
QM resort in the works
Developers plan ship refurbishing, tourist site similar to Universal City Walk.
By Wendy Thomas Russell, Staff writer
Article Launched: 06/07/2007 11:35:19 PM PDT
LONG BEACH - A development team looking to refurbish the Queen Mary and create a theme resort on the surrounding 45 acres is one of the two top choices to be the next lease holder, the Press-Telegram has learned.
Led by Orange County developer Jeffrey S. Klein, the team consists of a number of real estate's heavy-hitters - including PBR, the primary developer for Disneyland Paris. The team also includes Hix Rubenstein, a company that specializes in high-end golf course resorts and marinas, and the powerful The Carlyle Group, an investment firm based in Washington, D.C.
No development team has been chosen for the Queen Mary site, and plans are preliminary at best, but Klein confirmed Thursday that his group - which now calls itself Save The Queen LLC - has been working with the city to help resolve a bankruptcy case involving the ship's current lease holder.
Klein said his team envisioned the project as a theme resort with hotels, a marina and a bay club, in addition to a mixed-used development he likened to Universal Studios City Walk.
Also, he said, developers are prepared to refurbish the art deco ship to the tune of some $22 million - with $5 million provided immediately - and build the infrastructure needed to make the site more easily accessible to downtown Long Beach.
"We feel very strongly that we are the group that is very long-term oriented," Klein said, "and our approach would be something that would be first-class down there."
The ambitious proposal comes amid a contentious and complicated bankruptcy case involving Queen's Seaport Development Inc., the company that has leased the city-owned ship for the last 14 years.
Last year, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee was named to resolve a number of QSDI's legal disputes and to identify a buyer to take over the Queen Mary and develop the land around it.
The trustee, Howard Ehrenberg, decided on an auction-style sale, now set for Aug. 14, and accepted an opening bid of $41 million from O&S Holdings, a Los Angeles firm headed by the founder of Kinko's copy centers.
O&S, whose past experience has centered on the creation of shopping complexes similar to the Long Beach Towne Center, has proposed to build a mix of retail, restaurants, hotels, a theatre and a marina at the site, according to O&S attorney Jess Bressi. Their future developments, however, include expansive mixed-use projects in the South and Midwest.
But, last week, the city tried to skirt the need for an auction altogether when it nearly worked out an agreement with the Klein group to buy out the lease and property interests for some $49 million in a private sale.
While city officials have remained tight-lipped about their discussions with Klein, an attorney for the city has said the Klein group offered to resolve all pending litigation with QSDI's creditors - including a bitter dispute over development rights with Bandero LLC, QSDI's own minority shareholder.
Klein said there was one thing no other developer had to offer: the ability to dispose of the bankruptcy case altogether.
"We are the only ones who can offer a global settlement," he said, adding that he had already worked out an agreement with QSDI's equity partners.
While city officials and developers declined to discuss the reason that no formal deal was reached last week, those familiar with the talks said the deal hit a snag when the city demanded a larger cut of the purchase price of the lease.
Under terms of the bankruptcy case, city officials agreed last year to accept about $5 million as a settlement with QSDI over a long-standing rent dispute, but had a "subordinate claim" of an additional $4.1 million to be paid only after all other creditors had received their payments. The city's position in last week's talks was that the subordinate claim should take a higher priority if the Klein group was to buy the lease outright, sources said.
The attorney representing the city, Steven Gubner, expressed confidence on Tuesday that a deal could still be reached, but U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Vincent Zurzolo opted to move forward with the scheduled auction - setting the date for Aug. 14.
What will happen next is unclear. Without a private sale, the auction would proceed as planned and developers would be invited to overbid O&S. At least one developer, Derby Lane LLC, has voiced its intention to do just that.
Klein, president of Fletcher Development Company in Newport Beach, said he had 14 projects under way, many of them mixed-use developments and planned communities. Along with PBR, Klein said he recently redeveloped and sold the Snowmass Center in Snowmass Village, Colo.
As a side note, Klein's older brother and former business partner, Robert, now serves as chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's governing board. The elder Klein helped write Prop. 71, the stem cell initiative that led to the formation of the CIRM in 2004.
June 11th, 2007, 06:29 AM
i think the proposed streetcars in Long Beach would change LB for the better drastically. to be able to tie all these cool little districts together would be such a boon for the city. i think it has a chance to be a cooler San Diego.
June 11th, 2007, 06:57 AM
I think the LBC has more of a chance of being similar to LA as what Brooklyn is to Manhattan, just a little farther away. Long Beach just needs an nba team to move there and they would be set. That would pretty cool if they could tear down the old sports arena and put a modern arena for the clippers to play at. even if it wasnt the clippers, LA is a big enough area to support another nba team.
July 10th, 2007, 07:31 PM
Long Beach condo plan touches a nerve
A plan to replace a marina-area hotel with residential towers stirs fears of congestion.
By Sharon Bernstein and Deborah Schoch, Times Staff Writers
July 10, 2007
The SeaPort Marina Hotel sits at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street in Long Beach, looking like a worn postcard from the 1950s — a sprawling low-rise complex of pink buildings above the marina that has clearly seen better days.
Neighbors say the place is an eyesore — and some hotel guests have complained in Internet chat rooms that the accommodations are dirty and smelly.
But a plan to tear down the landmark building and erect 170,000 square feet of shops and 425 luxury condos has met with stiff opposition from many Long Beach residents, who see it as an unwanted part of the booming port city's march toward high-density urbanism.
New development has been sweeping the coast of Long Beach, with several new high-rise condos going up in the downtown area in the last two years. Several new developments are also in the works on the eastern shore, around the hotel.
The Seaport Marina project would be the biggest in decades along Alamitos Bay and has become a symbol for what some consider overdevelopment.
It would rise next to a popular boat marina and across the street from a neglected expanse of mud, cattails, saltwater pools and oil pumps that form the Los Cerritos Wetlands.
Brown pelicans sit atop the lampposts and great blue herons perch on palm trees. Cyclists speed by on land, and sailors and kayakers cruise under the adjacent 2nd Street bridge.
The California Coastal Commission staff has already expressed concern about the loss of the SeaPort hotel, saying it would prefer overnight lodgings that many can afford instead of high-rise condos for the relatively few.
Proposed by the California division of Florida-based Lennar Homes, the Seaport Marina project is one of several in the works in parts of Long Beach and north Orange County.
It has won kudos from those who say that the city needs more housing but concern among longtime residents who worry that Long Beach is becoming too dense.
"There's too much development around here," said Ossie Saguil, 48, a physician who lives in a condominium nearby.
"The traffic patterns are bad already," Saguil said. "And now this plan is also bad for the environment. It will lead to congestion, which will also lead to pollution."
Brandon Kline, vice president for public policy for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, said the project would benefit the city, bringing businesses, sales tax revenue and moderately priced housing to an area that desperately needs it.
But he said the developer should work with residents to retool the project so that nearby homeowners are more comfortable with it.
"We're definitely supportive of it, but we want to make sure we are able to balance the development with what the residents want," Kline said.
The project won support of the Long Beach Planning Commission last spring, but was appealed to the City Council. Under pressure from homeowners and other opponents, the council is expected to postpone until November a hearing on the project that had been scheduled for tonight. The council is still expected to hold a special wetlands study session at 2:30 p.m. today.
Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, whose district includes the SeaPort hotel, said he would ask for the continuance because Lennar has not yet developed a satisfactory plan for reducing the traffic consequences of the huge project.
Close to the junction of the 405 and 605 freeways, the area is already congested, according to DeLong and others, and residents say that traffic is already severe, especially with beachgoers in warmer months.
If the company cannot find a way of reducing the traffic, he said, it should scale down the project significantly.
"I do believe that some time over the next couple of months they will see that reduced density must be part of the solution," DeLong said.
Phone calls placed to Lennar's corporate headquarters were not returned Monday, and calls to its Aliso Viejo office were not answered.
Charles Posner, a planner with the Coastal Commission's Long Beach office, said the agency was concerned about several aspects of the plan, including traffic and the possibility that a road might be built through the wetlands, one of Southern California's last remaining unrestored salt marsh areas.
The commission is also concerned that Lennar would build condominiums because the state prefers that scarce land at the shore be used for purposes other than residential.
The commission expects to review the project if it is approved by the City Council, Posner said.
The nearby wetland is a key issue for many residents.
Mary Parsell, president of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, which appealed the Planning Commission's approval of the project, said the buildings would be taller than the stores and other structures flanking the wetland.
"That would change the whole character of the area," Parsell said. "What do you want next to the wetlands and our beautiful beach areas?"
Long Beach attorney Melvin L. Nutter, a former state Coastal Commission chairman, said Monday that he hoped the council's decision to delay its hearing would allow the city to step back and design a plan for the entire wetlands area that takes traffic and marsh preservation into account.
Nutter represents opponents of a proposed Home Depot nearby as well as a proposed road extension that is part of the Lennar project.
Both the Home Depot and the road extension are to be reviewed by the Coastal Commission later this year.
State officials have "concluded that the Los Cerritos Wetlands is an area that justifies major restoration activity and money developed to it," Nutter said. "So we ought not be compromising its viability."
July 12th, 2007, 10:42 PM
How far is the Blue Line from this project? Can't/won't that be used in the developers favor?
July 13th, 2007, 06:13 AM
probably 5 miles or so
July 13th, 2007, 05:13 PM
Its practically out in the middle of nowhere.
June 20th, 2008, 09:51 AM
Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach celebrates its 10th year
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
A youngster leans in for a close look as sea lions swim leisurely at Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The aquarium has grown up nicely. It now boasts a long list of preservation activities, popular exhibits and culturally themed events, and it was the world's first breeder of the weedy sea dragon.
By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer June 21, 2008 As Jerry Schubel strolled through the newest exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, which turns 10 years old today, a swarm of giggling children gathered in front of a massive tank where a dozen silver Mexican lookdown fish as big as dinner plates circled a hedge of coral.
Schubel, president and chief executive of the aquarium, smiled as the kids pressed closer to ponder the colorful spectacle designed to highlight sea life in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's our first attempt to theme a display from top to bottom," he said. "The carpet here is made of recycled materials. The color scheme of tans, reds and yellows evokes a feeling of being in a desert region. The interpretive signs are in both English and Spanish."
The earthy colors and environmentally sensitive design underlined renewed efforts to expand exhibit space and boost attendance at the regional attraction, which a decade ago was awash in complaints of overcrowded rooms, lousy food and boring exhibits.
Not anymore. The aquarium ranks among the most popular in the nation in attendance, pulling in 1.4 million people a year from throughout Southern California. Aquarium revenues in 2007 were about $39 million, a 26% increase over 2006. Overall, its economic impact in Los Angeles and Orange counties has been about $1 billion, city officials said.
"This aquarium is on the younger side," said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, "but they are definitely among the biggest and the best."
In partnership with a growing number of corporations and organizations including Honda, the BP Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund and the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, the aquarium now aims to become a center for teaching the virtues of watershed preservation and offshore aquaculture.
"I'm impressed with all the public outreach they do," said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. "To have such a resource at the edge of one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas is wonderful."
More than 12 million people have visited the facility, which was built during a nationwide boom in aquarium construction in the 1990s. It was conceived as a cornerstone of a waterfront retail and amusement complex that would lure visitors to downtown Long Beach. At the time, the city was struggling to cope with the closure of a naval shipyard and the loss of about 50,000 jobs.
The aquarium was designed to meet its $117-million bond obligation through attendance revenue. But revenues failed to keep pace with bond payments, and the city of Long Beach refinanced the attraction's debt in 2001 to lower the annual payments.
The aquarium recruited new managers, who set to work responding to negative reviews. Concession menus were improved and a time-ticketing system was installed to accommodate no more than 2,500 visitors at a time. The aquarium also made news by opening its "Shark Lagoon" exhibit and by receiving an award from the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit organization that accredits facilities that have met rigorous standards, for being the first facility in the world to successfully breed bizarre creatures known as weedy sea dragons.
As part of an effort to diversify what began as a largely white customer base, the aquarium launched a series of six annual "cultural festivals" featuring the foods, dances and celebrations of various ethnic groups rooted in surrounding communities. For children who use wheelchairs, the aquarium hosts a "Festival of Human Abilities," featuring a hip hop wheelchair dance.
At a time when the world's seas are in deep blue trouble, the aquarium assists in local coastal cleanups and fish population surveys. Last week it opened an exhibit called "Ocean on the Edge: Top 10 Ocean Issues," which includes a display that compares healthy coral with samples bleached white by diseases brought on by stress and temperature change.
Then there is the "fish head trail" being developed by Adam Summers, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Irvine, and his students, which will invite visitors to explore how anatomy relates to function.
"With information to be supplied in glossy handouts," Summers said, "people will learn that the rubberlip surfperch, which smashes its mouth into the bottom to free up crustaceans, has big soft lips to cushion the blows and a mouth suited for sucking up food. They will also learn that the streamlined body and head of a barracuda is perfect for lunging forward and chopping prey in half."
It's one of many ways the aquarium is trying to reach out to children and their parents.
"The aquarium has made tremendous progress," said Mario Molina, chairman of the Aquarium of the Pacific's board of directors. "But I still make a point of walking around the facility, watching to see if kids are having a good time and getting a sense of awe from the diversity of life right outside our back door."
Take Los Angeles mail handler Tash Thompson and her 11-year-old son, Perris, who stood for 20 minutes transfixed by the bounty of fish swimming around a 30-foot-tall, 124,000-gallon "Blue Cavern" tank facing the main entrance.
"I brought Perris here to celebrate his graduation and his birthday," Thompson said. "We've been talking about coming here for years. Now we don't want to leave."
email@example.comLos Angeles Times
June 20th, 2008, 11:20 AM
City planning new bike paths http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee192/trolltoast/2495292521_ce52efda08.jpg bikecommuters.com
By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 06/18/2008 11:04:48 PM PDT
LONG BEACH - Biking across town will soon get a little easier.
City officials are planning to create two bicycle boulevards - one running east-west and the other north-south - and a bicycle master plan.
The City Council on Tuesday approved using a three-year grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that will put $310,000 toward hiring a mobility coordinator and $20,000 in seed money to develop the bicycle boulevards.
Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick told the council that the bike paths and master plan will help Long Beach "to reach our goal of becoming one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the nation."
She said the routes for the boulevards hadn't been chosen yet.
While the grant is expected to be awarded to the city, the county has delayed issuing the money until July 1, city officials reported. The bike plan is contingent upon the county grant.
The mobility coordinator will develop and implement projects related to bicycling, secure money for bike improvement projects, and ensure that pedestrian and bicycle friendly features are included in development projects, according to a city report.
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal said city officials should investigate what creative methods other cities are using to create bike paths "beyond painted lines on the road and an occasional sign on a street light."
Councilman Dee Andrews advocated for his central Long Beach 6th District
having a role in the bicycle plan.
"I really don't want you guys to forget our inner cities with these projects that you're putting together," Andrews said.Press-Telegram
August 5th, 2008, 11:04 AM
Tide’s Turning at Queen Mary Site http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee192/trolltoast/QM1_QM2-Mariano20Manfuso-01.jpg atlanticliners.com
New owners plan amusement park, hotel.
By JOEL RUSSELL
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
The new owners of the Queen Mary are planning a marina, an onshore amusement park, a hotel and an office building near the landmark ocean liner.
Plans are still in the early stages. In fact, artists’ renderings of the project are four to six weeks away from public view, according to Mike Murchison, spokesman for Save the Queen LLC, the investment group that bought a lease for the 74-year-old ship and an adjacent 45 acres in a bankruptcy court last November.
He declined to give many details because his group will explain more in a private meeting with Long Beach city officials this week, but Murchison said the amusement park would have rides, movie theaters, restaurants and themed retail stores. The marina would feature 200 slips, including large spaces for yachts and commercial vessels. The office building would have 200,000 square feet for maritime or port-related companies as tenants. The complex is to be called Queen Mary Island.
Murchison expects a 28-month entitlement process and hopes for a groundbreaking in early 2011.
“We’re trying to do as much community outreach to Long Beach and surrounding cities – not an easy task,” he explained. He said any project at the site had to be a good fit with the ship.
“We are in full support of the development of the property, which quite honestly has never lived up to its potential,” said Randy Gordon, president of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “This developer is the real thing. And that real estate on the waterfront is precious – there’s not much of it left.”
The ship’s former lease-holder, Queen’s Seaport Development Inc., declared bankruptcy three years ago. The new group, called STQ, paid $43 million to buy the lease, which was originally written in 1996 and ran for 66 years.
STQ is headed by Jeffrey Klein, a real estate owner from Newport Beach who is president of Fletcher Development Co. and Pacific Capital Development. His financial partner is the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm with more than $80 billion under management.
Since taking over the lease in November, STQ has started renovation work on the ship with new carpet, new paint and new cooling systems. Also, the company has hired Chicago-based hotel management firm Hostmark Hospitality Group to run the day-to-day operations of the Queen Mary.
“The city is pleased with the progress our tenant has made in learning how to operate an historic ship,” said Amy Bodek, manager of the Redevelopment Bureau at Long Beach City Hall. “The visitor probably wouldn’t notice the improvements yet, because they have been managerial in nature. Our new tenant is charged with coming up with a plan that makes financial sense, helps the city, and falls with the restrictions of California Tidelands.”
The land and the ship belong to the city of Long Beach, held in trust for the people of California. Laws block the city from selling the land, and any development must allow public access for water-related activities, including fishing, shipping, boating and tourism. That means limited retail, and a ban on any residential development.
The ship was retired in 1967 and permanently anchored at Long Beach. It was launched in 1936 and ferried passengers from the United Kingdom to New York.
Any big development will create traffic, and to address those concerns, STQ plans to apply for federal grants to develop public transportation to bring people to the area.
“One of our challenges is to find alternatives to the Long Beach (710) Freeway,” Murchison said.
Gordon of the chamber believes freeway traffic has improved with a new Port of Long Beach program that gives truckers discounted rates for using the port off peak hours.
Bodek said the city expects some hotel development as part of STQ’s plan to meet demand. The supply is increasing because the adjacent Coast Hotel is undergoing renovations and a nearby Marriott is in the proposal stage.
“But there is still room for more hotel accommodations,” Bodek said.
As a tourist attraction in Southern California, the Queen Mary faces competition from Disneyland and Universal Studios, in addition to pedestrian zones in Hollywood, Santa Monica and Pasadena – all established tourist magnets within an hour’s drive of Long Beach.
One challenge the new leaseholders face is that the “Grey Ghost,” as the ship was called during her heyday, appeals to an older demographic.
“Making a ship attractive to a younger audience is a simple task,” said Steve McGowan, managing creative director at New York-based FRCH Design Worldwide, who has worked on Caribbean resorts and Las Vegas casinos. “Just look at Disney Cruise lines that have turned a ship into an event for all ages.”
While Gordon concedes that established retailers and restaurateurs could see Queen Mary Island as competition, he believes such an iconic attraction is good for the customer base in the area.
“It’s all about a mass of people going to one place,” he said. “Downtown Long Beach has much more synergism now than just a few years ago, and this development will take it to the next level.”
Los Angeles Business Journal
August 10th, 2008, 09:43 PM
^^ It sounds like they're trying to bring the Old Pike back.
He declined to give many details because his group will explain more in a private meeting with Long Beach city officials this week, but Murchison said the amusement park would have rides, movie theaters, restaurants and themed retail stores.
The only problem is that they have something like that a stones throw away and it turned out to be a dismal failure. I hope they really think this thing through and create something viable that can connect with the surrounding hoods, because we don't need another mall by the sea.
Not to mention the lack of a decent beach and that the Santa Monica Pier is what the Pike should have been. :-(
As far as this...
One challenge the new leaseholders face is that the “Grey Ghost,” as the ship was called during her heyday, appeals to an older demographic.
“Making a ship attractive to a younger audience is a simple task,” said Steve McGowan, managing creative director at New York-based FRCH Design Worldwide, who has worked on Caribbean resorts and Las Vegas casinos. “Just look at Disney Cruise lines that have turned a ship into an event for all ages.”
They can throw events and parties there like they've been doing, but they should just do a better job of promoting the ship as a attractive venue to encourage bigger parties and promoters to throw events there (Such as Insomniac and Go Ventures) and that'll solve the age bracket problem right there. Before any of that can happen, they need to renovate that ship from the inside out.
Anyway though, I love the new concept. Bringing the Old Pike back with the Queen Mary as the centerpiece? Brilliant.
August 11th, 2008, 03:07 AM
The old Pike was a lot better than the S.M. Pier.
August 30th, 2008, 11:29 AM
New Boeing transport plane could keep Long Beach plant open
Boeing's C-17 assembly plant in Long Beach is slated to close in two years. The company has proposed building a modified version of the plane that could keep the facility running for another decade or more.
The company has proposed a modified C-17, and there are signs of interest from the Pentagon.
By Peter Pae, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 30, 2008
Southern California's last major airplane factory, slated to close in two years, could find new life under a bold plan being floated by Boeing Co. to build a new version of the massive C-17 military cargo plane.
The proposal, gaining traction among Pentagon planners, calls for transforming the long-haul, strategic transport into a tactical aircraft that could deliver equipment and supplies directly to the battlefield.
The upgraded C-17, if approved by the Pentagon, could help keep the sprawling Long Beach production line open for another decade or more, Boeing executives said. The factory next to Long Beach Airport employs about 5,000 workers.
With no new orders, the plant is scheduled to close with the rollout of the last C-17 in August 2010, dealing a major economic blow to the region. Southern California was once the nation's aviation center, but most aircraft manufacturing plants have shuttered or moved elsewhere.
In addition to the direct payroll, the plant provides jobs for about 5,300 workers at suppliers around the region.
"We've got a fantastic solution," said Jean Chamberlin, head of Boeing's C-17 program in Long Beach. "We'll be able to fulfill the future airlift needs of the Army and have the opportunity to extend the life of the plant well into the next decade."
The proposal has the support of California's congressional delegation but is likely to encounter resistance from other states that don't have the same vested interest.
"The C-17 upgrade has tremendous potential if we can do so at a reasonable price," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), whose 46th District includes the Long Beach plant. He was briefed on the proposal by Boeing executives Friday.
But Rohrabacher added that obtaining funding for the C-17 had always been a "knockdown, drag-out fight," and he didn't expect anything different for the new proposal. "It'll be tough."
The four-engine plane has been a workhorse for the U.S. military, transporting troops, supplies and casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as conducting humanitarian supply missions after natural disasters.
Boeing has built 190 C-17s since production began in the early 1990s. The program is one of the company's largest, generating $3 billion in annual sales.
But with tight Pentagon budgets, squeezed by the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force has obtained funding for only 15 more, with the last C-17 slated to enter service in late 2010.
Facing that production shutdown, Boeing engineers have come up with a proposal to build a modified C-17 that would have more powerful engines, larger wing flaps and an additional landing gear.
The structural changes would allow the C-17B, as it is being dubbed, to take off and land on shorter, unprepared runways.
It would turn the large aircraft into a tactical cargo plane capable of delivering armored vehicles and troops directly to the battlefield, similar to the role played by the smaller, propeller-driven C-130 transport. Because of its size, the C-17 typically uses longer runways that are far from the battlefield.
"It would be able to deliver combat-ready vehicles like the Stryker directly to the combat zone," Chamberlin said.
The C-17B could meet the Army's requirement for a larger tactical airlifter without having to spend billions of dollars developing one, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Teal Group Corp.
The Army is developing a variety of weapon systems, several of which would not fit or would have to be taken apart for transport in the smaller C-130. The Army, therefore, has been pushing for a new, larger plane that could deliver the next-generation equipment.
The C-17B "will be more expensive per unit but you won't have to spend $10 billion developing a new plane," Aboulafia said. "This is a respectable argument for keeping the production line going."
Boeing executives said the new variant could be built for about the same cost as the $200-million C-17, even with the new engines and other upgrades, because of the savings the firm would realize from new manufacturing processes.
The C-130, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., costs about $50 million but has a maximum cargo capacity of 42,000 pounds, compared with 170,000 pounds for the larger C-17.
Still, the Air Force's initial response was tepid.
"Right now, I don't really see it fitting in," Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of Air Mobility Command, said last fall when the idea was first raised by Boeing.
But in recent weeks, top Air Force officials seemed to waver a bit, saying during a background briefing this week that the C-17B could be an alternative to developing a new tactical aircraft to replace the C-130.
Either way, Air Force and Boeing officials said any decision to proceed with building the new transport would have to wait until two major Pentagon reports were completed early next year. The reports will assess the military's air transport requirements and recommend what type of aircraft the Pentagon may need.
"We've had very favorable responses," Chamberlin said. "We've had numerous discussions with both the Army and the Air Force, and I think they understand its capabilities and its affordability."
January 9th, 2009, 04:59 AM
Politicians rail over MTA delay
By Gene Maddaus, Staff Writer
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Posted: 01/07/2009 10:12:58 PM PST
South Bay politicians are reacting angrily to an MTA proposal to delay two local rail projects because of the worsening economy.
In November, voters approved Measure R, the half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects, with the expectation that the Crenshaw line would be completed no later than 2018.
But under a new draft proposal from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, that project will not be done until 11 years later, in 2029.
South Bay politicians also expected the MTA to extend the Green Line to Los Angeles International Airport as soon as 2015. Under the new draft, that project will not be done until 2018 at the earliest, and perhaps as late as 2022.
"We were totally taken aback by that," said Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, who has lobbied to bring the Green Line to LAX. "The start date is moved back three years. That's troubling. We're going to fix that."
With the passage of Measure R, the MTA will be able to add many new projects throughout the county to its long-range funding plan. But the economic downturn - and the accompanying drop in sales tax revenue - means that the MTA's draft schedule is not as aggressive as it would have been a couple months ago.
"We're now realizing the intensity of the recession," said Carol Inge, the MTA's chief planning officer. "The state has a huge budget shortfall, and they're talking about reducing some of the money that comes to transportation."
project that would be most affected by the schedule change is the Crenshaw line, which would run from Exposition Boulevard through South Los Angeles and Inglewood, and join up with the Green Line at Aviation Boulevard.
Under the expenditure plan that was presented to voters for Measure R, the Crenshaw line was among the MTA's highest priorities.
But in order to attract federal dollars, Inge said the MTA now has to give greater consideration to the subway along Wilshire Boulevard and the Downtown Regional Connector, a subway which would link the Blue Line with the Gold Line.
"In order to keep the whole package of projects moving, we couldn't keep the Crenshaw line on the same schedule," she said.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes the Crenshaw corridor, said that the MTA board had not been sufficiently consulted on the delay.
"Those who speak out of turn about what is not going to happen with Crenshaw, and offer other corridors or other perspectives, need to think twice about it," he said. "We should not allow the residents along the Crenshaw corridor to be subjected to short shrift."
Supporters of the Green Line-to-
LAX extension were also disappointed because they believe the link is relatively affordable, at $400 million, and should be completed soon to coincide with the LAX modernization project.
"The timing is now," said L.A. Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a fervent Green Line advocate. "God knows that LAX needs a light rail plug. In my opinion, the stars are lined up."
The draft proposal indicates that the extension could be complete by 2018 if LAX assists financially. Without such assistance, it would not be done until 2022. Though that timeline is later than supporters want, it does fall within the schedule attached to Measure R, which called for the project to be completed anywhere from 2015-2028.
Outgoing MTA CEO Roger Snoble was on the phone with Rosendahl and Oropeza's staff on Wednesday, attempting to reassure them both about the timing of the Green Line extension.
"They can't change it without involving the Legislature," Oropeza said. "What happened was that maybe some overly zealous staff went a little too far without checking in with the board members."
January 15th, 2009, 11:14 AM
Rode my bike down to LB via the Blue Line and am even more impressed with the city. What a treasure LB is! Rode along the bike path and stopped off for lunch in Belmont Shore, what a treasure this area is and it being adjacent to public transit is just amazing.
Question: what's wrong with LB? This city (at least downtown/coastal areas) should be tangoing with San Diego with an eye on Miami and should be able to fall somewhere in between the two. At the very least it should be able to leave SM in the dust.
Get rid of that break water and let the waves crash upon the shore. You lose a lot of the ambience and impact of being at the foot of an ocean when the waves are as supressed as if they belong in a kiddie pool.
January 17th, 2009, 09:28 PM
Will the Queen Mary get yet another savior?
By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/16/2009 10:25:50 PM PST
LONG BEACH - Save the Queen LLC, the development company that took over the Queen Mary's lease in November 2007, is facing financial difficulties and could be forced to relinquish its stake in the ship.
An advertisement for a sale of Save the Queen's interest in the iconic ship's lease was placed Friday in the Wall Street Journal by the company's primary partner, Garrison Investment Group. The sale is scheduled to take place Jan. 28 in New York City.
Save the Queen managing partner Jeff Klein said Friday that his company hadn't been able to hold up its end of the investment partnership because his partner in Save the Queen, Mountain Valley residential developer Tom Hix, had financial issues.
The situation is an internal matter among the companies that partnered to buy the Queen Mary's lease, primarily Save the Queen and Garrison, Klein said.
"This isn't a property issue, this is a partnership issue," Klein said. "The relative positions of those parties within the partnership is what's changing. Who is going to run it and take the lead, those are the things that are in discussion right now."
A representative from Garrison couldn't be reached Friday for comment.
Whether new investors buy Klein's stake in the Queen Mary on Jan. 28 or Garrison is forced to cover the additional investment costs, Klein could lose his stake in the ship and role as developer, he said. While he and Garrison are in negotiations, whatever happens, Save the Queen won't be the controlling entity, Klein said.
Save the Queen bought the iconic ocean liner's lease in 2007 for $43 million after the previous operator, Queen's Seaport Development Inc., went bankrupt. That bankruptcy added to a long history of disappointments and little profit at the ship that city leaders brought to Long Beach in 1967.
City Manager Pat West said earlier this month, when rumors of Save the Queen's failure began circulating, that the company hadn't defaulted on its lease.
Klein said the ship's declining revenue also played a role in Save the Queen's financial woes.
"The operations are way down, just like they are for everyone else right now with the economy," Klein said.
Despite Save the Queen's financial problems, renovations under way on the city-owned ship and plans to develop 55 surrounding acres of land should go forward, Klein said. Klein has suggested building an entertainment venue with stores, hotels, office space and a marina at the site.
"The project itself is well-funded, well-capitalized, and it will go forward," Klein said. "Who will be controlling, and who ultimately will be running the project, I honestly don't know myself."
If Save the Queen were out of the picture, Garrison would need to find a new developer, and that entity would have to be approved by the city.
"At the end of the day, anybody in charge has to go through the city for entitlement, and at the end of the day the city is still the owner (of the Queen Mary)," said Amy Bodek, manager of the city's Project Development Bureau.
January 19th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Question: what's wrong with LB? This city (at least downtown/coastal areas) should be tangoing with San Diego with an eye on Miami and should be able to fall somewhere in between the two.
To me, the only thing wrong with Long Beach is the beach itself. I was around that area last week, just wondering around. Then when I was at Naples Island I wanted to go for a swim. Bad idea! The water not only tastes like fish and smells like gasoline, but it also has some weird stuff floating in it. It is good that at least they have those fresh water fountains for risnsing off...
The beach is much cleaner in Orange County or in Santa Monica. I guess if you're anxious about swimming, a short drive down the PCH would be a good idea...
January 20th, 2009, 09:04 AM
That's funny. SaMo beaches near the pier are disgusting. I don't think LB beaches are that bad. Belmont Shore is the only beach city I like because LB is the only beach city with warm enough weather for me. LOL.
February 7th, 2009, 01:08 AM
Thanks a lot, economy:
Economic Woes May Capsize Ambitious Plan For Queen Mary
After 76 years afloat, the RMS Queen Mary surely still draws stares from the cargo ship crews that call at the Port of Long Beach, where the Queen remains one of Southern California’s more incongruous tourist attractions. Having sailed the North Atlantic under the Cunard flag, the ship has, since 1968, served simultaneously as a hotel, museum, event venue, and elegant icon for an otherwise working-class Southern California port city.
For all its high-class connotations, the Queen Mary is docked unceremoniously in a forlorn corner of the harbor. The ship and its surroundings have been the object of countless proposed redevelopment schemes, the latest of which comes courtesy of a new lessor with ambitions of turning the ship and her surroundings into a regional entertainment and tourism destination.
“It’s an icon with a long established association with the city,” said Joseph Magaddino, chair of the economics department at California State University, Long Beach. “More importantly, it’s one of the elements that fits into the overall tourist destination economy that Long Beach is trying to create.”
That effort now hinges on investment group Save the Queen (STQ), led by Orange County developer Jeff Klein, which submitted the winning bid to purchase the operating and development rights for $43 million in a bankruptcy court auction in November 2007. Though the previous operator had gone bankrupt in 2005, just seven years into a 66-year lease with the city, STQ pledged to bring the ship back to its art deco splendor while exploring development options for its 45-acre dockside parking lot. The plan, however, may have washed away in the current wave of economic uncertainty.
The Queen Mary currently attracts captive audiences who attend conventions at the downtown Long Beach Convention Center. But to become a major regional attraction, it would likely require the complement of a Universal CityWalk-style destination that plays into the area's maritime tradition while softening its industrial image.
“The efforts of the Save the Queen group are to allow the ship to be a significant attraction as part of the overall development of the site, not to preclude the ship but to make sure the ship is an active part of development,” said historian John Thomas, who sits on the board of the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency and has consulted with STQ on the ship’s restoration.
Save the Queen has already invested a reported $6 million in aesthetic and functional improvements to the hotel, restaurants and ventilation systems. It has upgraded hotel rooms and has taken on a subcontractor to manage hospitality and retail operations. But restoring the ship may merely be prelude to something much bigger.
As recently as August, reports and statements indicated that STQ was considering everything from a marina, to an amusement park, to hotels, residences and retail, all of which may have been developed in partnership with Carnival Cruise Lines. However, no dollar figure was ever attached to these proposals – though presumably it would range into the hundreds of millions – and promised renderings and specifics have yet to materialize.
“I hope to see the Queen restored to its historic splendor,” said Long Beach City Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, whose 2nd District includes the Queen Mary. “And I expect a proposal for a project with international level architecture and vision.”
The redevelopment of the Queen Mary would likely fit in with Long Beach’s ongoing efforts to upgrade and market itself.
“The city of Long Beach and the people in the region would like to see that site developed,” said Professor Magaddino.
Bob Maguglin, spokesman for the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that a revitalized Queen Mary would be “a regional draw.” However, STQ, after initial pronouncement and promises, has refused to make any further statements concerning its plans, financing or deal with the city. In fact, the developer has hinted that it may jump ship entirely.
“Due to potential changes in ownership we are holding off on all media inquiries related to entitlement discussions or status of STQ,” STQ spokesman Mike Murchison wrote in an e-mail message.
Likewise, representatives of the Long Beach Planning Department and Redevelopment Agency refused repeated request for interviews.
“As far as I know, this deal is going forward,” said Lowenthal. “I haven’t been advised otherwise.”
Afloat but permanently moored, the Queen Mary faces little danger of going the way of her big sister Titanic. Yet a cavalcade of operators, including Hyatt and Disney, have tried to make a go of the Queen Mary. Ultimately the lease has been batted about among several operators whose resources and commitment were not strong enough to realize a comprehensive development plan.
“The real potential is to take the property adjacent to the Queen Mary to see how that can be developed to provide shopping and entertainment,” said Magaddino.
The seagoing monarch therefore represents an enormous land-use challenge—to whomever develops it. Long Beach has revitalized its shoreline with The Pike entertainment and retail complex, an aquarium and parks, to which the Queen Mary provides a handsome backdrop. But the ship sits across the harbor, with poor road, pedestrian and transit connections, and its immediate surroundings have all the charm of a cargo dock.
“I'm hoping for an urban planning component to it. Right now it’s somewhat detached from downtown and the rest of the city," said Lowenthal, who has commissioned a study for a streetcar line. “One of the greatest hopes I have for it is for it to be woven into the fabric of our city.”
Save the Queen had contracted with a transportation consultant and planned to partner with the city to request federal funding to improve access and develop mass-transit service. Meanwhile, construction of a hotel, retail, or any other land-side buildings would also require approval of the California Coastal Commission as well as meet California Tidelands Trust restrictions. Ultimately, though, surmounting regulatory hurdles may be nothing compared with the challenge of raising capital.
“The fact that we've had a worldwide economic collapse has put a kink in the timeline, but the developer is still investigating options,” said Lowenthal. “I look forward to them presenting preliminary concepts to the city within the next few months. At that point, the entitlement process would begin.”
February 7th, 2009, 01:57 AM
One of my favorite restaurants is on the Queen Mary (Sir Winston's) and when ever we go I always wonder why they put it on that side of the harbor. Not easy to access by any means and like the story says, in a very industrial looking area. At the same time I'm kinda glad they put it on that side because the views of the city are amazing. I hope the Queen gets the overhaul it deserves.
February 9th, 2009, 07:56 PM
Poor quality pics from my phone, camera's in Palm Springs! Just had a good time driving around...
May 1st, 2009, 05:03 AM
O.C. firm proposes returning Queen Mary to high seas
A tiny new Fountain Valley company known as The Queens Project says it wants to buy the aging, dock- bound ocean liner Queen Mary, restore the ship to its previous glamor and operate it as a passenger vessel that would roam the world from its homeport in Long Beach.
The audacious proposal was highlighted this week by the Long Beach Press Telegram in a story that recounts various efforts to financially stabilize the Queen Mary, which has been permanently berthed in Long Beach since 1967. The ship is owned by the city of Long Beach and has been leased by various operators. The 1,019-foot vessel, which joined the Cunard White Star Line in 1936, is currently operated as a hotel and tourist attraction by Garrison Investment Group.
Robert Sides III, the 26-year-old chief executive officer of The Queens Project, says he’s trying to help secure private investment and grants to buy the ship, seal it up, remove its protective breakwater and arrange to have the liner towed to a shipyard in San Francisco for a four year overhaul. (The Queen’s three famous red stacks would be removed in the process.) The ship would later return to Long Beach and operate as a high-speed ocean liner. The entire project would cost as much as $1.5 billion, Sides says.
“The bottom of the ship is in really bad shape,” says Sides, who is trying to raise development money with Cairngorm Entertainment Group of Las Vegas, which he says is a “sister” company that also has offices in Fountain Valley. “We’d have to make sure it was seaworthy (to tow) and we’d remove the stacks because they’re not in good condition.”
Restoration would involve replacing about 1 million rivets in the ship, which once transported everyone from celebrities and leisure travelers to military troops. The ship would essentially be gutted, then restored, featuring 350-400 staterooms.
Sides, who lives in Oceanside, says he’s developing a formal proposal for the project, which he’ll present to Long Beach officials in 12-14 months. The ship is the city’s best known landmark and Long Beach might not want to part with it, despite the vessel’s financial problems.
“Our company and our investors are confident in the Queen’s Project,” Sides said in an email. “We are talking about truly one of the largest maritime projects in history, generating thousands of much needed jobs in California in addition (to) injecting much needed money through out cities in California.”
When asked if it wouldn’t be cheaper to simply build a new ocean liner (the modern Queen Mary 2 already exists), Sides talked about the grand history of the Queen Mary, saying, “That in itself is a selling point not just for investors but people around the world … We are talking about much more than a cruise ship, but rather an ocean liner with a unique history. A brand new cruise ship is what everyone else has.”
Sides noted, however, that the Queen Mary “is in bad (physical) condition. The purpose behind the Queen’s Project is to protect and preserve the ship, to undue the damage that has happened over the last 40 years and ensure she is around for the next generation of people to use and enjoy.”
If such a project could be pulled off, said Sides, “The Queen Mary will sail all over the world, making regular trips to Australia, England, New York and of course ports through out the West Coast.”
If Long Beach lets the Queen Mary go then they can add on another blunder to their already monumental list of fuckups.
And they're trying to remove the red ship stacks? Are they crazy?
The QM is a symbol of the city of Long Beach and a historical icon to L.A.'s metro. The ship stays and they ain't gonna remove shit.
EDIT: Apparently, they already removed those stacks... http://www.sterling.rmplc.co.uk/visions/funnels.html
They're not removing them again though. :lol:
And even then... the chances of this guy pulling this off is slim to nil. But we'll see. I hope the LB City Council shames him back to Orange County.
June 7th, 2009, 03:55 AM
IDK, that sounds like a really bad idea. I wouldn't trust a 70-year-old vessel to cruise high seas...
July 24th, 2009, 08:48 AM
Study offers 5 options to reshape Long Beach's breakwater
City leaders hope to persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to reconfigure the World War II-era structure. The result, they hope, will be cleaner water, bigger waves and more tourists.
By Louis Sahagun
July 24, 2009
Just off downtown Long Beach, where freighters queue up to unload much of the nation's imported goods, a long wall of rock rises from the waves, encrusted with mussels and crawling with crabs.
This is the Long Beach breakwater, a 2.2-mile vestige of World War II designed to shield the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet from stormy seas and enemy torpedoes.
Today, nearly two decades after the Navy and its ships pulled out of the area, critics contend that the stony barricade is the reason the city's now surf-less beaches are among the least popular and most polluted in the region.
Long Beach officials Thursday released the results of a study designed to attract congressional support for a controversial proposal to reconfigure the breakwater to create bigger waves, cleaner water and beaches, and more surf tourism.
The city could gain $52 million a year in local spending -- and $7 million annually in taxes and fees, the study found.
Details of the $100,000 study, conducted by the engineering firm Moffat & Nichol, will be presented to the Long Beach City Council on Monday.
Many civic leaders hope the findings will spur the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the breakwater, to analyze the feasibility of dismantling part of the barrier.
Officials said the project will be carried out only if it can overcome daunting challenges. Major concerns include how altering the breakwater would affect navigation into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the offshore loading of weaponry onto Navy ships.
Then there are the area's oil islands, one of which was destroyed by heaving seas during a storm in 1983.
"Resolving those issues," said Russell Boudreau, principal coastal engineer for Moffat & Nichol, "will be far more challenging than moving breakwater rocks around."
Supporters of the proposal said the change would revive the city's historic seaside allure.
U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) said it was her "hope and goal" to see the project completed within a decade.
"All the pieces are coming together," she said. "We are excited about the prospect of returning waves to Long Beach, but also committed to ensuring that any such project protects homes and the economic vitality of the largest port complex in the United States.
"If it is determined that we can do those two things and return the waves," she said, "then let the waters roll. We're ready."
Ed Hendricks, 84, vice chairman of Long Beach Surfrider, an environmental group, agreed.
"But in the meantime, we have a big dead sea out there behind the breakwater that's so dirty I wouldn't stick a toe in it," he said.
Legend has it that surfing began in California in 1911 when two men returned from Hawaii with surfboards and began riding the waves in Long Beach. The city hosted the first National Surfing and Paddleboard Championships in 1938. Three years later work began on the breakwater.
After it was completed in 1949, the waves vanished and the crowds moved on to cleaner waters in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach.
Now, some owners of the older homes that hug the strand in the communities of Naples, Bluff Park and Belmont Shore worry that its removal would invite flooding and rogue waves.
"The people who want to take it down have noble goals: restoration of waves clean enough to swim in and the kind of frolicking and big seaside hotels that existed here in the 1930s," said Laurie Manny, a real estate agent in Long Beach. "On the other side are homeowners who imagine 20-foot waves barreling in during an El Nińo year and nothing out there to stop them."
Complete removal of the breakwater is not recommended in the study. Instead, it offers five options, including three that would reconfigure the breakwater. They range in cost from about $10 million to $310 million.
Michael Schaat, director of the Cabrillo Beach Aquarium, expressed concerns about the potential effect on life forms from starfish to lobsters that reside on the ledges and between the cracks of the rocks.
"It's a biologically rich area," he said, "above and beneath the surface."
On Thursday morning, harbor seals rolled in tidal water. American black oystercatchers probed rocky crevices with their red-orange bills. Crabs scuttled into hiding. From a vessel bobbing in the shadows of 400-foot-tall terminal cranes, fishermen were catching barracuda and calico bass.
Tom Modica, the city's project manager for the breakwater study, acknowledged that it would be difficult to balance the concerns of stakeholders.
"There is a long process ahead of us before any construction could begin," he said. "But this study starts the debate."
November 26th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Desire for streetcars gets a look in Long Beach
By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/21/2009 07:59:32 PM PST
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Second District City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal envisions a downtown crowded not with cars, but people - pedestrians who arrive by bicycle, bus and, perhaps, even streetcars.
Electric-powered streetcars such as those used in San Francisco and Portland - connecting Long Beach's neighborhoods, fostering pedestrian movement and spurring development - are an integral part of Lowenthal's vision.
Last week, the council heard a report on a feasibility study that had been commissioned in 2007 about installing streetcars in Long Beach, and other city officials seem to be warming up to the idea.
"We are at a fantastic time in our city when more and more people want to leave their cars behind," Lowenthal said last week. "People are looking for ways to exercise their right to different modes of transportation."
However, skeptics, including the head of Long Beach Transit and representatives of downtown residents and businesses, question the viability of such a massive public transit undertaking. The biggest obstacle would be the massive cost of the proposed project - more than $900 million of investment if all of the potential routes outlined in the study were to be implemented.
City officials say the funding would come from federal grants and wouldn't touch the Long Beach's depleted general fund or other city budgets.
"This project, wonderful though it is as a vision, is talking about spending a lot of money right now when that money could be used for other purposes," said Larry Jackson, president and CEO of Long Beach Transit. "My concern is that there's only so much money that comes to the region, and if this project becomes a political priority, is it going to jeopardize the other projects that we have?"
The idea of bringing streetcars to Long Beach began with a trip by Lowenthal to Portland, where she was inspired by the many modes of public transportation used there, including a flourishing streetcar system. The council approved hiring an outside consultant a "limited" feasibility study, which ended up costing $69,000.
The study lists a dozen possible streetcar routes and extensions, some as simple as a downtown loop or connecting downtown to the Queen Mary, and others moving all of the way from the Westside, Naples, Cal State Long Beach and the north end of Atlantic Avenue to downtown.
In the proposal, all routes lead to downtown, which would be the hub of Long Beach's streetcar system.
Proponents say the benefits of streetcars are that they provide a sense of certainty for businesses that open along their routes and for residents and visitors who use them. They are also simple to use because they essentially link two destinations, such as downtown to Belmont Shore or to Bixby Knolls.
"If you see a track, you know where it's going," said Sumire Gant, the city's transportation officer.
She said streetcars encourage people to walk more and often are used to travel short distances, rather than the longer distances of buses. For example, a visitor to the Convention Center might hop on a streetcar to head a few blocks up Pine Avenue for dinner. Or, tourists staying downtown would have an easy way to get to other shopping and restaurant areas - again, such as Bixby Knolls and Belmont Shore - that they otherwise might not know how to reach.
Streetcars typically carry 95 to 110 passengers, seated and standing, and travel at 15 to 20 mph, according to the study. The cost of installing rails and electric cables to power the vehicles is between $18 million and $25 million per mile, the study says.
If the council chose to move forward with the project and had the funding for it, a more thorough feasibility project could be completed next year for $550,000, then an engineering and environmental study would be done in 2011 and 2012 for $1.6 million, and finally the first legs of the system could be installed over two years, according to a timeline in the report.
For now, Gant said she plans to ask for proposals from companies that might be interested in installing Long Beach's streetcars, then go back to the council to see if it is ready to take the next step.
A real need?
But how much does Long Beach need streetcars?
Neysa Colizzi, president of the Downtown Residential Council, which represents six downtown neighborhood associations, said that streetcars won't do much good if there aren't people to use them.
"It seems that the idea of street cars that are more like people-movers - jump on, jump off - it seems a little premature," Colizzi said. "It seems like we should be getting more people downtown to move."
Kraig Kojian, president and CEO of downtown Long Beach, said he wasn't certain that streetcars are what downtown or the city need. He said Long Beach Transit's buses are popular and serve the city's transportation needs, although he would like to see a stronger transportation corridor connection from east to west.
"I think moving people in from neighboring cities, from neighboring communities into downtown is always a good thing," Kojian said.
Some aspects of the streetcar proposal seem similar to what the buses already offer now, such as a free ride zone in the city center. Transit's Passport buses already connect Belmont Shore to downtown, offering free rides west of Alamitos Avenue.
Paying the fare
Between free service in some areas and the ongoing cost of running the streetcars, the general consensus among experts is that the streetcar system wouldn't be self-sustaining. The operating costs could be several million dollars per year, depending on how extensive the system would be.
In Portland, about one-third of the streetcar costs are borne by city parking meter revenues and other fees, according to Kay Dannen, community relations manager for Portland Streetcar Inc.
Still, Portland has also sparked hope for funding streetcars in Long Beach and other cities across the country - West Sacramento, for example, is moving toward installing a streetcar system - after it received a $75 million federal grant to install a new leg of its streetcar lines. The city, however, had to match the grant, but it's a change from when Portland began installing the system in the 1990 s solely with city and state money.
Dannen said that the Obama administration has begun opening up dollars for innovative public transportation projects such as streetcars.
That is how Gant says Long Beach can and must fund its streetcar system. In a city that can barely afford to fill its potholes and a state with a ballooning budget deficit, the feds may be the only option.
"When I said we'd go for federal dollars, I fully expect that we would get them," Gant said.
On the other hand, Jackson questioned using any transportation money for a new and unproven transit project, when Long Beach Transit has had to hike its fares this year and will do so again in February and needs funding to improve its service. He said that Long Beach has other priorities as well, such as a proposed transportation project on the Long Beach (710) Freeway to alleviate congestion caused by Port of Long Beach traffic.
Furthermore, Jackson said that Long Beach would be competing with not only other cities around the country, but also potentially those right here in Los Angeles County, for transportation funds.
"I don't think it will be built in my lifetime, if we're going to go the route of competing with other cities across the nation for federal funds," Jackson said.
At the operational level, Lowenthal suggested those costs could be funded through fees charged to the businesses that are expected to spring up along the streetcar routes.
Breathing new life into underdeveloped corridors may be the true goal of a streetcar system, and it's certainly worked in Portland.
"Streetcar is really viewed as an economic development tool more thana transit tool," Dannen said.
Would development follow?Dannen said that as streetcar lines have spread out from the city center, the transit corridors have prospered with new businesses and development.
According to Long Beach's study, Portland has had $2.8 billion in development investment in the streetcar project areas since 2001. Tampa, Fla., has had $1.1 billion of investment since it installed streetcars in 2003, and other cities have had similar results.
However, skeptics in Long Beach point to the Metro Blue Line running down Long Beach Boulevard and through downtown as proof that rail lines don't always lead to development. Lowenthal admits the Blue Line corridor isn't what it should be, but she said that was a matter of planning more than anything else.
"The leadership of the city at the time treated the blue line as a liability rather than an asset," Lowenthal said.
Still, Jackson was firm in his opposition, simply because of the logistics and funding, though he said he supports all forms of public transportation, even streetcars.
"I'm not against this project," Jackson said. "I'm just the one that has to implement it."
One thing Jackson and Lowenthal agreed on is that making streetcars work in Long Beach relies on changing the city's transportation culture and lifestyle. "When it's available, I think residents of Long Beach will leave their cars behind," Lowenthal said.
November 26th, 2009, 09:32 PM
As much as Long Beach has a history of screwing up, if they can get this right then they'll get on the right track. Suja has the right idea.
I don't like how those DTLB guys are not getting behind this, though. Don't they know that people will move to DTLB once they see how convenient it is to get to A-B? How these streetcars will help nearby businesses by promoting pedestrian activity? These are the guys who are impeding Long Beach to what it really can be.
And if Larry Jackson, the so called CEO of Long Beach transit said what he said, that guy needs to look for a new day job. This is a project that Long Beach needs desperately and we cannot afford to fuck this up like we do everything else. Those other projects can go on the back burner, and with Mayor Bob Foster who doesn't get shit done as is, we need to create jobs since we fucking blew it on the Tesla plant.
This is a major step for LB and it puts the spotlight on planning as well, because now that they have the rail they'll say "Look at what we have!" and the development will ensue along with a enjoyable, if not world class, downtown. And we can probably get rid of that Wal Mart too once they see the potential of the area that the lines are going through.
November 27th, 2009, 12:19 AM
January 5th, 2010, 09:58 AM
Architects show designs for new LB courthouse (http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_14021978)
LONG BEACH - The three teams vying for the chance to design and operate the new downtown courthouse have proposed a mix of modern and classic architectural designs and features ranging from rooftop terraces and landscaped courtyards to atriums meant to inspire transparency.
Architects from Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK); Perkins + Will and AECOM recently presented designs for a new Long Beach Courthouse, which will be built on a 6-acre site bordered by Broadway, Magnolia Avenue, Third Street and Maine Avenue.
The teams - California Judicial Partners, Lankford Phelps, Balfour Beatty Capital - last week submitted the financial and commercial parts of their plans, the final portion of the two-part proposal.
Perkins + Will, the architect on the Balfour Beatty team, was involved in the design of UCLA's Neuroscience Research Building and LAPD's Rampart and Harbor stations. It envisioned an atrium between a pair of buildings and a wave wall that would feature a composition of colored glass to reflect the city's relationship to the water.
The high-volume courtrooms would be traditional in design and prominently located and will have a landscaped roof. Features also include drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants and a palm court.
AECOM, the architect for the California Judicial Partners that designed Loyola Marymount University's William Hannon Library and LAPD's new headquarters, envisioned a "low-rise scheme" that's in keeping with the city's efforts to becoming a more walkable city. The L-shape design would feature a four-story office and five-story court building and have a large, secured courtyard for a "Southern California feel." High-volume courtrooms would be on the first two levels and all courtrooms would be traditionally arranged with access to natural light. The jury assembly room on the fourth floor would include an outdoor area.
For the lobby, Andrew Cupples of AECOM told the panel, "We wanted to have a space that would breathe, that people could actually use."
HOK, the architect for the Lankford Phelps team that worked on the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and teamed with Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis on the Aquarium of the Pacific, envisioned the six-story linear building to recall some classic ideas of court and civic buildings with their courthouse steps, colonnade and other features, but with a modern twist.
The great hall, the atrium, is to inspire the concept of transparency. The space would feature limestone walls and wood accents. The high-volume courtrooms would be one level up and one level below entry level and the design would also feature a rooftop terrace and landscaped public plaza.
Slated for completion in 2012, the courthouse will feature a 545,000-square-foot building with 31 civil and criminal courtrooms, 63,000 square feet of county office space, 9,200 square feet of retail space and a basement that will include a "sally port," or controlled-entry space, and an in-custody holding facility. The new building will house 800 workers and attract 3,500 to 4,500 visitors daily.
It will replace the courthouse building on 415 W. Ocean Blvd. Built about 50 years ago, the current courthouse has been identified by the state as one of the worst in terms of security, overcrowding and physical condition, according to court officials.
State and city officials have agreed to a land swap that will allow the state to give the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency 415 W. Ocean Blvd., in exchange for the agency property in the West Gateway area. The courthouse will remain on-site while the new one is being built. The state also plans to remodel the Magnolia parking structure.
A trio of teams consisting of architects, builders, financiers and facility managers are competing for the chance to design, fund, operate and maintain the state-owned courthouse.
Under a "performance-based infrastructure arrangement" - the first of its kind in the nation - the state will enter into a 35-year service contract with the winning team and make payments based on the success of the building's operation and maintenance.
Designs were submitted in November but were not released to the public until this week.
Meanwhile, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced Thursday that it has begun reviewing the financing and commercial portions of the three teams' proposals, which included tax-exempt bond financing and bank-funded financing alternatives, according to the state.
The state Department of Finance will examine "the preferred proposal to ensure that its financing terms minimize risk to the state's credit rating," according to the state.
The winning team will be chosen in mid-March, with construction to begin in late 2010.
January 26th, 2010, 05:44 AM
Long Beach makes way for bicycles
The city is proactive in becoming more cyclist friendly, even creating 'sharrows' for bikes and cars to share lanes. And 20 miles of new bike lanes are coming soon.
By Tony Barboza
The Los Angeles Times
6:22 PM PST, January 25, 2010
A dozen notables mounted bikes outside the entrance to Long Beach City Hall late last year for the unveiling of a metallic bicycle sculpture with a lofty proclamation:
"Long Beach, the most bicycle friendly city in America," it reads in bold steel lettering under the likeness of an antique bicycle.
It was a little premature, leaders admit.
"But we're striving for that," said City Manager Pat West, a longtime cyclist.
While other cities spin their wheels, Long Beach is joining the ranks of places such as Portland, Ore., San Francisco and New York City that have made safe passage for bikes a priority, even at the expense of traffic lanes.
And as Los Angeles reviews comments to a draft of a bike plan that proposes 696 miles of new bikeways, Long Beach is taking action.
"Long beach is a built-out city and yet they're finding a way to make east-west and north-south corridors that are safer and more inviting," said Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group. "There's no reason L.A. can't do the same thing. It doesn't have to be the slow-moving cog in the machine."
At a time when cities are cutting expenses across the board, Long Beach has raised $17 million in state and federal grants to improve its bike system through traffic improvements, education and bike share programs. In the next six months, the city will be resurfacing 20 miles of streets to include new bike lanes, part of a plan that includes painting and paving more than 100 miles of bike infrastructure.
In spring, the city hopes to install traffic circles on less-traveled streets parallel to thoroughfares and designate them "bike boulevards" -- preferred routes for cyclists.
Also in the works are plans to replace entire lanes of traffic with protected bikeways. And in what's bound to be a controversial move, the city is looking at taking away prime parallel parking spots -- the ones most convenient to shops and restaurants -- and putting "bike corrals" in their place.
"We can fit 15 customers where we used to fit one," said Charles Gandy, the city's bike mobility coordinator. "This is about differentiating Long Beach from L.A. and Orange County."
City planners have gone far and wide for input, bringing in experts to give advice, the mayor of Bogota, Colombia, and Copenhagen's traffic engineer among them.
And officials have enlisted a corps of volunteers -- from young fixed-gear-riding hipsters to paunchy, middle-aged road cyclists -- to help out with tasks such as bike counts, which will help determine where more bike lanes will be placed.
Street by street, cyclists and motorists are seeing changes, the most dramatic of which took place last summer when lanes of green paint appeared on one of the city's busiest stretches, providing an early test of how the city will balance car traffic with cyclists' rights to safe routes.
The green strip created a "sharrow" -- a 6-foot-wide space in the middle of the right lane of traffic on both sides of 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. It was intended to be a stark reminder that drivers must share the road with cyclists.
But when the green lane appeared last summer, it startled drivers and cyclists alike in the often traffic-choked retail district, drawing national attention for pitting the two against each other. "City puts bicycles directly in the path of motorists," USA Today wrote in a blog post.
"There was a lot of confusion from cyclists and motorists because there was green paint all over the place," said Dominic Dougherty, manager of the Bikestation, a business that provides bike rentals, parking and repair in downtown Long Beach. "And confusion breeds anger."
Gandy said the green strip "better articulates the existing law," which allows bikes to travel with vehicular traffic.
"We haven't given cyclists any more privileges than before the green stripe, we've just made it more obvious," he said.
But others say the green lanes have emboldened cyclists too much, with many weaving in and out of traffic, riding four-deep and making the already clogged street impassable.
"We just don't understand" the purpose, said driver Anne Long, an insurance agent who lives blocks from 2nd Street. "Are we supposed to pull over and go around them? I just stay behind them and go really slow until there's an opening in the other lane."
But others say that slowly, behavior is changing; cyclists are being more consistent about where they ride and drivers are being more attentive.
"When it first got put in we thought, 'Oh my God, everyone is going to get murdered,' " said Jean-Marie Garcia, a hair stylist who rides her baby-blue beach cruiser to work on Second Street every day. "But gradually over time, drivers have adjusted. They're slowing down."
Volunteers counted bikes before and after the green lanes appeared. According to a December report by the city, the number of cyclists on Second Street increased by 29% while the number of bikes on the narrow sidewalk waned by 22%.
And there have been only two incidents since they debuted: both involving cyclists running into cars.
Calling the green lanes an early success, the city is undertaking other bike-oriented enhancements. Last month, crews painted more green on two busy intersections where early morning road bikers congregate. The "bicycle boxes" give cyclists a designated place in front of cars to safely wait for the signal to change.
The city is also working with businesses and community groups to provide incentives such as 20% lunch discounts for cyclists -- to get people to ride to work, shops and restaurants.
The port-adjacent community also has some built-in features that may ease its quest for bike friendliness.
For one, it's flat and built on a grid -- easy to get around on a simple beach cruiser.
While it's a city by any measure, its digestible size makes bike transportation a more plausible alternative than in the sprawl of Los Angeles.
And the city already has continuous bike paths along three of its borders: the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers and the beach.
"We have such a huge advantage over other cities because we have these things," said City Manager West, who rides a road bike around town on the weekends.
"We're doing a lot of things outside of the box -- at least for Southern California," he said.
One example is the city's spin on a recent rise in bike thefts: It's a good thing, West and others joked, because after all, it indicates more people are out riding bikes.
And Long Beach is getting attention for its efforts. This week, the city is hosting delegations from some admirers: transit planners in Los Angeles, Glendale and other nearby cities who would like to draw inspiration from the Long Beach bike plan.
It's a shift for Long Beach, where, like in many other Southern California communities, the car still reigns supreme, said Andre'a White-Kjoss, president and chief executive of Bikestation, the Long Beach-based firm that has seven bike transit centers in California, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
"If we can do it here," she said, "you can do it anywhere."
January 26th, 2010, 11:00 PM
I'm telling you, the LBC is being very bold! It is a joy cycling in Long Beach. Bike lanes. Sharrows. People walking all over the place. After getting off of the Blue Line I bike throughout downtown, along the beach path and usually end up in Belmont Shore. Have a bite to eat, do some window shopping ride over to Hamburger Mary's for a drink, get back on the Blue Line and head back to LA. LB is becoming da bomb!
February 2nd, 2010, 06:27 PM
Better Bikeways: Turning a City Street Into a Bike Corridor
March 3rd, 2010, 10:28 PM
Queen Mary is getting a long-overdue makeover (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-queen-mary3-2010mar03,0,5483185.story)
The Queen has seen better days.
A makeover has been long overdue for the venerable Queen Mary, the retired cruise ship turned tourist attraction and hotel docked in Long Beach Harbor since 1967.
But repairs to the city-owned ship have been delayed because of financial crisis and organizational wrangling.
Long Beach officials now believe the ship is getting its long-overdue upgrades under a new management company that also operates hotels and restaurants in Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"We are optimistic about the future," said Victor Grgas, Long Beach property services manager.
The city turned over management to the Delaware North Cos., a New York hospitality and food service company, in September. Company officials say their strategy is to restore the ship to much of its Art Deco splendor while incorporating modern-day amenities.
For example, as it begins to remodel the 314 staterooms, the company has refurbished the room's original portholes and bathtubs -- including knobs for hot and cold saltwater -- but also added flat-screen televisions, hair dryers and iPod docking stations.
"I think people are looking for something different, and this will offer that," said Uwe Roggenthien, the general manager of the ship.
Roggenthien declined to say how much Delaware North has spent on the ship, but the lease operator that hired Delaware North signed an agreement with the city of Long Beach to invest more than $5 million in upgrades over a two-year period that began in 2008. More than half of that sum has already been spent, and at least a third of the renovations are completed, according to city officials and Delaware North representatives. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The Queen Mary's history has been star-studded and stirring.
The ship was built in 1934, dubbed the fastest and most luxurious cruise ship in the world. On the seas, it hosted celebrities and royalty, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor -- the first guest to pay extra to bring a poodle onboard -- and Bob Hope. During World War II, the ship was known as the Gray Ghost when it transported soldiers to the European front.
The city of Long Beach bought the Queen Mary in 1967 from the Cunard Line shipping company. Since then, the city has brought in several firms -- including the Walt Disney Co. -- to manage the ship and develop roughly 45 acres of adjacent oceanfront property. In addition to the hotel, the ship offers three sit-down restaurants and several ornate ballrooms.
In 1995, Queen's Seaport Development Inc., the company that controlled a 66-year lease agreement, filed for bankruptcy.
New York-based Garrison Investment Group stepped in two years later, and in September it hired Delaware North to operate and renovate the ship.
But the recession has drained demand for travel and lodging and cut the Queen Mary's revenues from hotel rentals, food and drink sales and other services.
In the first nine months of 2009, the occupancy rate at the hotel dropped to about 50% from 57% during the same period in 2008, according to a financial statement from the city of Long Beach.
In the same period, revenue from food and beverage sales on the ship dropped about 20% to $7.7 million, according to the same city report.
The only good news for Long Beach was a $112,000, or 7%, increase in revenue from renting out space for meetings, weddings and parties.
Bob Maguglin, the public relations director for the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he was encouraged by the experience of the staff now in charge of the ship.
"The Delaware North people seem to be some of the best people to operate the ship," he said.
Maguglin, a former tour guide on the ship, said he has seen some of the restoration projects on the ship and is impressed. "It requires a lot of tender loving care to keep it up and keep it in beautiful condition," he added.
Delaware North officials say they hope to draw more visitors to the ship by promoting it with e-mails and direct-mail ads to the more than 1 million tourists who have visited the other company-managed restaurants.
But bringing the Queen Mary back to its regal splendor won't be easy. The ship's rooms and halls are decorated with 58 types of wood, ornate brass carvings, onyx fireplaces, marble countertops and other vintage details.
Still, Roggenthien said the biggest challenge won't be to preserve and refurbish the 76-year-old ship but to offer a unique experience that will compete with other local attractions.
"We are going to take you back in time," he said.
Already, 75 of the 314 rooms and two of the three restaurants have been renovated.
At Sir Winston, the ship's "signature dining" room, Delaware North replaced the 1980s-era silverware and glassware, the drapes and carpets, repainted the dining hall a brighter color and updated the menu with healthier portions and more seafood choices.
Guests seem to like the improvements. In the last few months, Sir Winston's ratings on Internet websites such as Yelp.com and OpenTable.com have been mostly positive.
Said food and beverage director Keith Landry: "We want to make it a lot more fun and accessible to a lot more diners."
I'm glad that this is happening and the Hotel Figueroa can use the exact same treatment.
April 23rd, 2010, 04:28 AM
$1 billion Golden Shore Master Plan approved by Long Beach City Council (http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_14930909)
LONG BEACH - A massive, $1 billion development that would change the face of downtown over the course of a decade won approval night.
The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to amend the Local Coastal Program and the Downtown Shoreline Planned Development District to allow the mixed-use project known as the Golden Shore Master Plan. The council also voted to send the matter to the California Coastal Commission, which must sign off on the land use changes.
The project site south of Ocean Boulevard and bordered by Shoreline Drive on the west and south isn't zoned for the planned use. The location is currently home to City National Bank, Union Bank and Molina Healthcare, all three of which would be demolished.
The project is a joint venture of Molina Healthcare and the Keesal, Young & Logan law firm, who own the property, and is headed up by developer George Medak.
The ambitious development may take one of three possible forms, although the biggest difference is one element being only residential or also including a hotel. The plan is organized around pedestrian-oriented places and open areas.
Whatever form it takes, the Golden Shore project could include any of the following: a maximum of 1,370 residential condominiums, 340,000 square feet of office space, 28,000 square feet of retail space, a 400-room hotel, 27,000 square feet of conference and banquet facilities, and up to 3,430 parking spaces.
Planning Commission approved the environmental impact report for the development, which is expected to take eight to 10 years to complete. Assuming the Coastal Commission signs off on the plan, the Planning Commission will still have to approve individual building designs and other aspects of the project as it advances.
Most council members stood firmly behind the project Tuesday for the merits of the development as well as for the jobs it will create. Medak told the council that at its peak, the Golden Shore construction will create 2,200 jobs.
"This is an opportunity to really remake the Long Beach skyline, and we don't get many projects like this," 1st District Councilman Robert Garcia said.
Medak said Wednesday that both companies, whose owners have longtime Long Beach connections, want to create a high-quality development. He explained that the development group is embarking on the undertaking during a recession in preparation for better economic times.
"If we waited for good times to embark on a project like this ... by the time we got through the entitlement process, the good times might be gone," Medak said.
Garcia said that although for some people "density" is a scary word, he is excited by the development's density, particularly the residential element.
"I think for our downtown to really succeed, we've got to have more people," Garcia said.
He and other council members asked what kind of fees and public amenities would be required of the developers. City management said those stipulations would be placed on the project as each element goes to the Planning Commission, but would include costs such as parks and recreation impact fees and transportation impact fees.
There would also be offsite improvements to pedestrian walkways on Ocean Boulevard and Golden Shore Street, and Medak said the project near the mouth of the Los Angeles River would improve public access to the waterfront.
Medak said Wednesday it will be a while before work begins.
Getting Coastal Commission approval could take as long as five or six months, he said, after which he would take the first building plans to the city perhaps six months later. In 1 1/2 years, demolition on the first building in line - the Molina Healthcare offices, which are to be replaced with a 19-story office tower that would be the company's new home - could begin, Medak said.
Because of inflation and the decade-long development process, the project's total cost "will be a little in excess of a billion dollars," Medak estimated.
Third District Councilman Gary DeLong asked city staff Tuesday to streamline the approval process where possible.
"Let's see if we can remove as many obstacles and impediments as we possibly can," DeLong said.
A densifying downtown, Queen Mary makeover, street car plans... all that's needed is removal of the breakwater and the reimagining of The Pike and Long Beach will be on the rebound. :yes:
April 23rd, 2010, 07:52 AM
and something regarding cleaning the LA river and greening it around Long Beach.
Seems like a great project and Long Beach has a lot going for it right now.
May 6th, 2010, 07:19 AM
Long Beach Airport moves ahead with improvement project
The plan to modernize the facility while preserving its Art Deco design and popular qualities has satisfied community groups and city leaders who scaled back earlier proposals.
By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times
May 4, 2010
After years of controversy and a court battle involving local schools, the Long Beach Airport is moving ahead with a $136-million improvement project designed to modernize the facility without sacrificing its historic Art Deco terminal or reputation among travelers for convenience.
The project also satisfies community groups and city leaders who worked to scale back earlier proposals, which they feared would have weakened the city's noise ordinance that limits commercial and commuter flights at the airport because of surrounding residential neighborhoods.
Plans call for a new 1,989-space parking structure, ramp improvements and a concourse with a central garden and 11 gates that will replace the temporary trailers where travelers now wait for flights. About $2 million will be spent to refurbish the old terminal, which was built in 1941 and declared a historic landmark by the city decades later.
The project, however, will retain the open-air feeling of the current terminal complex, and passengers will still walk across the tarmac when boarding or leaving their planes. Baggage claim also will be partially enclosed as it is today.
"It will be pleasantly unlike other airports," said Mario Rodriguez, airport director. "Passengers will enter through a vintage terminal and pass into a modern concourse, all in a low-stress environment."
The parking structure, which will replace two surface lots and the airport's remote lot, is underway. After the City Council approves the final design in June as expected and contracts are awarded, work on the concourse and terminal improvements could begin by year's end. Everything should be completed in 2013.
"The project is designed to meet the needs and demands of our passengers," said Sharon Diggs-Jackson, an airport spokeswoman. "We want to keep it simple and efficient."
Long Beach Airport, which has been owned by the city since 1923, handles about 3 million commercial passengers a year, served by six airlines. The airfield is also popular among private pilots, commuter services and corporate jet operators, which account for about 300,000 takeoffs and landings annually.
The airport is known for its terminal, easy access by car and convenience for travelers who can usually get through check-in and security substantially faster than at Los Angeles International Airport or other major airports in the region.
Passengers say they welcome the new concourse and improvements as long as they don't lead to an increase in passengers or interfere with what makes the airport so attractive.
"We love this airport. It actually makes travel pleasurable," said Marlene Meng of San Pedro, who was there last week to pick up her grandsons and daughter. "They could use some new facilities. The airport is sort of a throwback."
The plan for the terminal and concourse will almost double the complex to about 74,000 square feet. Officials say the work will be financed with bonds sold to investors and the debt will be paid off over time with fees charged to airlines and passengers.
Officials at JetBlue Airways, which established its West Coast hub in Long Beach, said they were glad that the airport was finally proceeding with the project. Citing frustration with a lack of improvements, the discount airline indicated in April 2009 that it might cease operations at the airport.
"We had expressed our concerns earlier. The city has now really started to move forward. The parking structure is going full speed ahead," said Rich Smyth, vice president of corporate real estate for JetBlue. "We still have some things to work out, but there is nothing significant."
Earlier options for the project called for a much larger terminal complex: 133,000 square feet. But the proposals ran into opposition from community groups, who feared that the larger projects would encourage more flights and prompt attempts to weaken the city's noise ordinance.
Under the measure, commercial flights are now capped at 41 per day and commuter flights at 25. Today, the commercial slots are filled, and 16 commuter slots remain vacant.
In 2006, the Long Beach Unified School District joined the dispute when it filed a lawsuit alleging that the city's environmental analysis for the project was flawed and that dozens of schools would be affected by noise.
Two years later, a Superior Court judge upheld the city's environmental impact report, which concluded that the project would not affect noise and air quality.
Because of community concerns and the severe economic downturn in the airline industry, city officials steadily reduced the scale of the proposal to its current size.
"It's fabulous. It's the compromise everyone was hoping to reach," said Long Beach City Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, who opposed earlier versions of the project. "It serves the airlines, the project better represents the city, and it respects the noise ordinance that protects the community."
May 22nd, 2010, 04:32 AM
Expanded hospital opens at Calif. aquarium
By SUE MANNING (AP) – 11 hours ago
The Associated Press
LONG BEACH, Calif. — They don't cry, cough or run a fever, so how can you tell when a fish is sick?
You watch them, because you have to find them before you can fix them, explained Aquarium of the Pacific veterinarian Lance Adams, who is also known as a "wet vet" or "aqua doc."
Adams heads a team of about 50 aviculturists, mammalogists and aquarists who care for 11,000 fish, birds, mammals and reptiles at the aquarium, located about 25 miles south of Los Angeles.
The smallest of the animals, like baby sea horses, can weigh less than a gram, while the largest, like the California sea lion, can weigh more than 550 pounds.
The Molina Animal Care Center, a $5.5 million expansion that gives the aquarium a 14,000 square-foot hospital, opened Friday and gives the staff new space, new technology and a new audience.
The center will be one of only a few aquarium hospitals in the country where visitors can watch as animals are examined and treated, and it may be the only one that allows people to watch surgeries as they are performed, said Steve Feldman, a spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, based in Maryland.
The aquarium is also opening a remodeled sea otter habitat, named after the oil giant BP, which donated $1 million for its development four years ago. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dimmed the park's salute to the new otter home, but aquarium executives said the company's name would not be stripped from the attraction.
This summer, a live feed will be hooked up and aquarium surgeries will be broadcast to the local children's hospital so patients and their parents can watch. The idea is to let kids know they are not alone and give them a chance to ask Adams questions about the surgeries.
"It is truly state-of-the-art in terms of the equipment and facilities, but as importantly, it allows visitors and kids to really learn something about how we care for these creatures and it does it through a number of innovative methods. The openness and the transparency is a really unique feature of this facility," Feldman said.
Not every surgery will be successful. "Because they are wild and we are restraining the animals, there is always a chance something could go wrong," Adams said. "The animal could get overstressed and die. We do what we can to prevent it but if something happens we just have to explain it to the kids."
Beyond the surgeries for sick animals, there will be the cosmetic surgeries, Adams said.
If a sea lion breaks a tooth, a sawfish loses its rostrum or a shark's eye is gouged out, cosmetic surgery is needed to return the animal to its exhibit at the aquarium, Adams said. "We try to maintain the normal appearance of the animals."
They don't do elective surgeries like enhancements or facelifts. And they've never done a transplant or installed a pacemaker at the aquarium, although "it's only a matter of time until a case comes up."
Caretakers work to prevent problems, constantly monitoring environments, water quality and food. And always watching the animals.
Some of the things they look for in fish:
_ If a fish gets itchy, it will start scratching by rubbing against things like rocks. It probably has an external parasite that lives on the skin, he said.
_ Fish putting on weight. The biologists might switch diets or change the number of times some fish are fed. But there is a limit, Adams said, "because you feed to the weakest or most sensitive" fish in a tank.
_ Aging fish can have problems like renal failure, respiratory problems, thickening tissue and decreased activity.
_ Fish breath can tell caretakers a lot. Some halitosis is normal in aquatic animals because they eat raw fish so have bacteria in their mouths. But if it's caused by a tooth absess or pneumonia, the smell turns bad or rotten and alerts the biologists that something is wrong.
Adams visits a lot of schools and a lot of students visit the aquarium. How to identify a sick animal is the most often asked question.
"They want to know if I get grossed out by the blood, don't I think it is disgusting," Adams said.
They ask what happens when the animals die, if the others eat them, if they are buried. He tells them dead fish are removed from the tank, refrigerated until a necropsy can be done, then frozen and turned over to a rendering service. "We don't refeed any of the animals."
Adams usually gets a personal question too, about part of a finger he's missing on his left hand. "Was it bitten off by a shark?" they want to know.
"No," he tells them, but he's never sure they believe him.
February 9th, 2011, 05:03 PM
April 9th, 2011, 10:49 PM
May 12th, 2011, 05:14 PM
I love the photo used in the Long Beach Banner for SkyscraperCity today! I haven't been to Long Beach in about fifteen years (I'm from the Midwest) -- but it sure looks a whole lot better in that picture than what I remember it looking like back in the mid 90's. Looks Good!
May 13th, 2011, 02:42 AM
im surprised long beach made the banner
May 14th, 2011, 01:49 PM
The LBC! :cool: I though I would never see my city here on this website.
December 4th, 2011, 07:19 AM
Somebody has an idea of bringing the pike back with a 1920's themed development.
December 5th, 2011, 02:39 AM
December 5th, 2011, 07:46 AM
^^ I couldn't really get a good sense of the project from that link...
For interest of anyone who might not know, in the old days the beach of Long Beach extended much further west than it does now, and the Pike / pier jutted out from the beach a la Santa Monica. This area is all landfill now, with the current Pike shopping complex and the Aquarium of the Pacific located there. IMO, with the changes in the landscape and character of Long Beach over the years, the atmosphere of the original Pike would be difficult to recreate.
An old postcard, showing Long Beach and the Pike, with its well known Cyclone coaster:
January 22nd, 2012, 06:04 AM
Port of Long Beach expansion to create thousands of jobs
By Karen Robes Meeks, Staff Writer
Press-Telegram LONG BEACH, CA
Posted: 01/19/2012 05:26:06 PM PST
LONG BEACH — After a year of negotiations, Port of Long Beach officials have reached a tentative lease agreement with Orient Overseas Container Line on the future Middle Harbor development — a partnership that could make Long Beach the nation's busiest seaport and create thousands of new jobs.
The 40-year lease with the Hong Kong-based container shipping and logistics service company is a $4.6 billion commitment to "the biggest port terminal project in North America," said Port Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle.
"This agreement will allow us to move ahead with construction of the most technologically advanced and greenest terminal in the world," said Lytle, who made the announcement Thursday at his first State of the Port address at the Long Beach Convention Center.
The agreement, which is expected to go before the Harbor Commission on Monday, validates the city's commitment to infrastructure, said Mayor Bob Foster.
"In order for this port to thrive, in order for it to remain the economic engine that it is, we have to expand and we have to be able to move greater volumes of cargo at greater velocities," Foster said.
Foster added that he had spoken to the president of OOCL at the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce event, which brought more than 600 city and business leaders.
"He said it's the largest commitment they've made anywhere in the world," the mayor said. "So it demonstrates that we are right in what we said. We're going to plan for the future. We're going to have a port for the future."
OOCL Chief Executive Officer Philip Chow said in a statement that he is very pleased with reaching an agreement with the port to operate the Middle Harbor project.
"It demonstrates our long-term commitment to the Port of Long Beach as the gateway of choice for North America and solidifies our economic partnership with the region," Chow said. "We look forward to seeing the positive impact that this commitment will have for years to come."
Chow declined requests for an interview after the State of the Port address.
Work is already under way on the $1.2 billion redevelopment project, which seeks to fuse two old shipping terminals encompassing 294 acres into a new 345-acre terminal. Improvements will include upgraded wharfs, water access and storage area and an expanded on-dock rail yard from 10,000 linear feet to 75,000, which means less local truck trips, Lytle said.
When completed in 2019, the Middle Harbor is supposed to help improve cargo movement by more than double, cut air pollution by as much as half and add about 14,000 permanent jobs to the local economy, officials said.
"This terminal will be the crown," Lytle said after the event. "It will be the terminal that will represent the highest efficiency, we think, of any terminal in the country. Customers will want to come to that terminal to have their cargo handled there."
The agreement comes at significant time, officials said.
"It's great, especially now with the down economy," Lytle said. "There's a lot of pessimism in the industry, but OOCL is taking that long-term view and looking ahead and realizing that this continues to be a premiere gateway."
OOCL, a Port of Long Beach customer since 1969, would take up roughly 305 acres, and could move into the new space as early as 2016, Lytle said.
"When they're up to capacity, that terminal would equate to the fourth largest port in the U.S. - that terminal alone, when it's up to 3.1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units)," Lytle said.
With the Middle Harbor, Long Beach has the potential to overtake Los Angeles as the nation's busiest seaport.
About 6.1 million 20-foot-equivalent containers were moved in 2011 by Long Beach port shipping terminals, while more than 7.94 million cargo containers passed through the Port of Los Angeles last year. If this trend continues and the Middle Harbor reaches capacity, the Port of Long Beach would top 9 million TEUs.
"This lease, if it gets approved, is really going to shape the Port of Long Beach and Long Beach for the next 40 years," said Susan E. Anderson Wise, president of the Long Beach Harbor Commission. "It secures the future for us."
Read More: http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_19777252
January 22nd, 2012, 12:30 PM
This is very important, and frankly I don't care if Long Beach pulls ahead on capacity, just so long as this complex remains relevent and dominant. . http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee192/trolltoast/album%203/p2sengcom.jpg P2SENG.COM . We're competing with supertanker access through the Panama Canal soon and, as I see it, they will have a slight problem with bottlenecking, along with some pirate trouble, but if we concentrate on turnaround, then nothing can impress our clients more than that! That, and delivering the product to our distribution centers across the country- in effect, beating the boats to our collective destinations! . http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee192/trolltoast/album%203/lilesnetcom.jpg LILESNET.COM
January 22nd, 2012, 06:02 PM
February 13th, 2012, 07:30 AM
Very large and beautiful:banana:
April 1st, 2012, 02:35 PM
Does anyone have any info on that "transit-oriented" development across the Anaheim station?
June 12th, 2012, 05:14 AM
Long Beach's Icky Colorado Lagoon Getting All Cleaned Up
Monday, June 11, 2012, by James Brasuell
Phase II of an ongoing project to restore the previously gross Colorado Lagoon recreation area in Long Beach is moving along smoothly. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that by July contractors will have moved about 59,000 cubic yards of sediment to the port. Phase I, finished in November 2010, decreased litter at the 13 acre lagoon via upgrades around the lagoon and a nearby golf course: "The low-flow diversion of urban runoff to redirect it into the sanitary sewer system; installation of trash-traps to prevent debris from entering the lagoon from the three remaining major storm drain outlets; and cleaning the culvert to improve tidal circulation in the lagoon; and install a graded channel with plants to help naturally filter golf-course runoff." The next phase of the restoration project will construct an open channel to replace the underground drain to Marine Stadium. However, that project has yet to seek funding for design or construction.
Read More: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/06/long_beachs_icky_colorado_lagoon_getting_all_cleaned_up.php
July 17th, 2012, 04:28 AM
Long Beach Arena makeover will stress venue's versatility (http://photos.presstelegram.com/2012/07/photos-long-beach-arena-to-undergo-major-interior-changes/#4)
LONG BEACH - In its heyday, the Long Beach Arena was bringing the biggest music acts to town - The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Presley and No Doubt, to name a few; but its glory days are over.
That could soon change.
The newest project at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center won't only be innovative and trendsetting, it will be the first of its kind - anywhere.
The $7 million project, which Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau President & CEO Steve Goodling said "would put Long Beach Arena back on the map," will bring A-list artists, professional boxing matches, new conventions and a host of other events to town.
The 45,000-square-foot, multipurpose event space will have the capability to customize itself to suit any event planner's palate, he said.
The versatility of the arena will expand dramatically, Goodling said, adding that "it isn't about repurposing the space, but additionally purposing the space."
"When you walk into the arena, you won't feel like you are in an arena, you will feel like you are at a special events arena," he said. "There isn't any public space like this in the world. We are pioneering this idea."
Funding for the project was allocated during a Feb. 17 Long Beach City Council meeting - with money coming from the tidelands Measure D oil revenue. The meeting, part of a quarterly budget adjustment, appropriated more than $17 million in "high priority" capital projects.
The project has been on a fast track and is in the bidding stage, with the convention center's management company, SMG, handling the bidding process for the project. Bidding ends on July 24, with construction starting by or before Aug. 1 and expected completion of the project in January.
Improvements to the arena include creating a "loft-style" ballroom, which will be amplified because of the suspended steel tension grid system that will act as the ceiling. The grid, which can be raised to accommodate a sold-out, 13,000-person concert, or lowered to accommodate a 50-person dinner, or removed entirely, will provide the intimate environment desired when attending any event.
"We are creating a hanging art piece that can change the space dramatically to accommodate any event," said John Fisher, AIA of John Sergio Fisher & Associates Inc., one of the two architects working on the project. "The steel tension grid system allows us to light every single spot of the entire arena. We will have complete and total flexibility to handle any and every event."
The ballroom space, with seating for up to 5,500 people, will double the Convention Center's current ballroom capacity.
The steel tension grid will support $1 million worth of state-of-the-art LED and stage lighting, sound systems and decorative elements.
"If you want to have an event, we are the only people you have to talk to," Mike Ferguson, director of the Theatre Projects. "We will have it all - sound, lighting and atmosphere. This literally creates a focused space for any event. It is a virtual creative space."
In addition to the steel tension grid, electronically operated curtains that drop from the ceiling, enclosing the floor area and covering views of the upper deck seats while providing audio and visual equipment, will be installed. The entire arena renovation project will also include replacing aging equipment and other modernizations.
SMG General Manager Charlie Beirne said the project won't affect events that currently take place at the arena, like Disney On Ice. In fact, he said, the state-of-the-art technology will enhance, if promoters want, the show or event.
"The essence of this project is to transform the arena into a multipurpose `Loft-Ballroom' space that creates a unique theatrical environment," said Jerry Sherman, AIA, of Jerry Sherman Architect, the other architect on the project. "This type of environment will help define the Long Beach Arena as one of the most unique and flexible facilities in the nation. Our interior canopy, if you will, floats over the event space, creating another dimension to the space below that will define each and every event in its own special way."
Goodling said there is no reason that Long Beach residents should have to drive all over for a good concert or boxing match. Instead, he said, the community should be able to look in its own backyard.
If you want to go to a good boxing match, you have to drive. If you want to go to a good concert, you have to drive," he said. "We will now have it available in the heart of 20 million people between the Inland Empire, Orange County and L.A. County.
"The residents of Long Beach won't have to look far, and that is a statement that makes me proud."
The financial impact on the city will be great, Goodling said.
"This will have a positive economic impact on our city - these events will fill our restaurants, our hotels, our streets, and that is what our residents want," he said. "When people catch a show or any event they generally head downtown early to grab dinner, so activating this building further creates a greater overflow to all the surrounding businesses."
The ball is already rolling on bringing in bigger and better events to the arena, Beirne said.
"It is our goal to have to turn people and events away because there is just no available time," he said.
Ferguson said that this is the opportunity to create a new identity.
"This new exciting space is being create in a beloved landmark," he said. "This project will provide a well-appointed flexible space, ready to be transformed to suit the needs and vision of the event."
Great news. This will definitely help out the downtown area and on the grander scheme of things these little renovations will help the Long Beach stadium become "Olympic overhaul ready" if they needed to use it.
December 2nd, 2012, 06:00 PM
Aquarium of the Pacific: Benefits by land and by sea
Economic Impact Study Released; $50 Million Expansion Underway
By Micheal Gougis - Contributing Writer
October 09, 2012 - Head for the Aquarium of the Pacific on a warm, pleasant summer weekend.
You will quickly understand exactly what Aquarium President and CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel means when he says that while the facility could, theoretically, accommodate more visitors, “It’s not the kind of experience we want to provide.”
To do a better job of providing for the animals in its care, teaching the public about the waters of the world and bringing economic benefits to the city and the surrounding community, the Aquarium has announced that it is breaking ground on a $50 million expansion project.
The expansion will not only see an increase in the size of the renowned center, but in the sophistication of the exhibits to better educate the public, Schubel says. And it will help ensure that the Aquarium will generate increased economic benefits for the city in the future, he says.
“It’s about enhancing the experience, enhancing the educational value, and being able to accommodate a larger number of visitors,” Schubel says.
The economic impact of the Aquarium continues to grow as it becomes an increasingly integrated part of the Southern California tourism industry. Make no mistake – tourism is critical to the California economy. In 2011, “total direct travel spending in California was $102.3 billion, a 7.6 percent increase from 2010 spending,” according to California Tourism Industry data.
For the City of Long Beach, the Aquarium represents a $57 million annual economic impact, according to a study conducted by the consulting firm AECOM. That is a dramatic increase from the $42 million annual impact documented in the last study, conducted in 2004.
For the greater Southern California region, the Aquarium delivers $142 million in economic benefits – broadly defined as spending, wages and employment created by the activities and presence of the facility – Schubel says. Currently, the Aquarium is responsible for 520 jobs in the city of Long Beach, and more than 1,200 jobs throughout Southern California, according to the study.
For Long Beach, the Aquarium brings money to the city from outside of its borders, Schubel adds. “About 10 percent of the visitors to the Aquarium come from Long Beach. More than 80 percent of the visitors come from elsewhere in Southern California but outside of Long Beach.”
Attracting more dollars from outside of Long Beach will be one of the benefits of the expansion program, Schubel says.
“As we grow and expand, the length of time of stay at the aquarium goes up,” he says. “So people are more apt to get another meal here in Long Beach. We’re hoping that as the city matures, the number of overnights goes up, because there will be more and more things to do in our city. We not only will be a great destination for conventions, but a destination for tourists to stay overnight.”
Expanding the offerings at the Aquarium can greatly increase the number of visitors, overnight stays in Long Beach and even memberships at the facility due to a phenomenon known as “museum fatigue.”
Basically, researchers have determined that visitors to any exhibit-based facility will last about three hours before they develop a desire to run screaming for the door. If you’ve ever tried to cram in too much museum sightseeing on an overseas vacation, you are very familiar with the feeling.
Currently, a typical visit to the Aquarium is between two hours and 30 minutes and two hours and 45 minutes, Schubel says. By expanding the facility, it will take longer for people to complete their visit – more than the three-hour mark – thus encouraging multi-night stays in the city and increasing the demand for memberships, which save money for people who visit multiple times.
It is important not to think of the expansion solely in economic terms, Schubel says. The Aquarium is a non-profit entity, aimed at educating and informing the community about the waters that cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. Expanding the facility, and increasing the sophistication of the delivery of that information, will allow the Aquarium to continue to improve the way it pursues its mission, as it has improved it in recent years.
“Over the last two years, we’ve added a number of new platforms like Science on a Sphere, which is part of our Ocean Science Center, and it’s an entirely new way of delivering messages about the ocean and people’s relationship with the ocean,” Schubel says.
“We’ve added a watershed exhibit that allows us to demonstrate to people how human activities on land in the watershed get collected and transmitted to the ocean. We’ve added the Molina Animal Care Center that not only allows us to take better care of our animals, but it lets the public see how well we take care of our animals, and it’s connected to Miller Children’s Hospital, so that children in the hospital are able to observe our vets doing checkups on our animals and they can talk to him – it has an educational component to it.”
Technology at the core of the expansion plans will allow the Aquarium to continue down this path, Schubel says.
“Live animals are the heart and soul of the aquarium. But live animals are not very good at telling the big stories about what’s happening to their relatives in the wild or in the ocean,” he says.
“So we have to use technology and media. One of the things that will be in our expanded facility will be this amazing surround-around 4-D theater that will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”
In the end, telling the story of the ocean and connecting it to those of us on land is the reason for the Aquarium’s existence, and why it is working so hard to expand and improve, Schubel says.
“In a not-for-profit institution, the only profit that really makes sense is in how well you pursue your mission,” Schubel says. “If we increase the stewardship, the knowledge, the education of people in Southern California about the world’s oceans, then we will have succeeded. If all we did was make money, we would have failed.”
Read More: http://www.lbbusinessjournal.com/long-beach-business-journal-newswatch/160-lof-scroller-articles-12-10-09/951-aquarium-of-the-pacific-benefits-by-land-and-by-sea.html
December 8th, 2012, 09:02 PM
Long Beach Airport unveils resortlike concourse, terminals
By Karen Robes Meeks Staff Writer
Contra Costa times
LONG BEACH - If it weren't for the commercial airplanes visible through tall glass walls, travelers might mistake the new concourse at the Long Beach Airport for a resort hotel.
Visitors will now be greeted by stylish new decor including plush red seats, elongated fire pits and a garden walkway - part of a renovation officials showed off Wednesday.
The new concourse - which will feature two terminal buildings, 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating and more than 10,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space for Long Beach merchants - is set to open to airline
The public will be able to check it out before the checkpoints are put in place Sunday (tour reservations are required).
"It's a community asset," Airport Executive Director Mario Rodriguez said in advance of the Wednesday evening unveiling that was attended by local dignitaries.
"It really is what we're trying to build here. It's their airport."
The $45 million terminal project - which is five months ahead of schedule and on budget - has been years in the making. The work was funded entirely through airport revenue.
The airport had already built a new parking garage as well as part of the modernization overhaul.
Read More: http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_22132387/long-beach-airport-unveils-resortlike-concourse-terminals
December 13th, 2012, 07:43 AM
Long Beach Arena makeover will stress venue's versatility (http://photos.presstelegram.com/2012/07/photos-long-beach-arena-to-undergo-major-interior-changes/#4)
Great news. This will definitely help out the downtown area and on the grander scheme of things these little renovations will help the Long Beach stadium become "Olympic overhaul ready" if they needed to use it.
how often does the arena used for big events? i walk around that area regularly and i dont see much going on.
January 4th, 2013, 10:17 AM