The sky’s the limit

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia showcases plans for high-rise projects set to transform city skyline, announces visioning plan for waterfront developments.


Courtesy City of Long Beach

Crowd awaiting Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s presentation, Building a Better Long Beach, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia highlighted nearly six dozen citywide development projects that are either under construction or are in the early stages of concept design during the second annual Building a Better Long Beach presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at The Beverly O’Neill Theater.

The low-lit theater was packed to the brim with City employees, developers and architects, all watching Garcia stride across the stage as he showcased residential, commercial and civic developments. In total, the projects are valued at $3.5 billion, according to a City press release.

More than 5,000 residential units and 800 affordable-housing units were highlighted– each currently undergoing various planning, review or construction processes.

A major announcement during the meeting was the reveal of the Downtown Shoreline Planned Development Area-6 visioning process, which city officials hope will result in an enhanced waterfront with new visitor-serving uses and attractions. The City’s goal is to create an iconic seaside environment that complements the rest of the City’s development projects further inland.

“The water is an asset for Long Beach,” Garcia said. “We’ve got to do a better job of developing and embracing our waterfront.”

Garcia added that the City went through a “large and extensive process” when it created the Specific Plan, also known as the Downtown Plan, to develop and create all the projects that were shown during Tuesday’s event.

That planning process focused on parcels north of Ocean Boulevard and encompassed all of downtown.

“[The Downtown Plan] was developed through an intense process […] and now it’s being implemented,” Garcia said. “I know about this process well, because, before I was even on the city council, I was one of the 12 community residents that helped vision what is now the Downtown Plan. We want to do something similar for our waterfront.”
The visioning process will focus on land south of Ocean Boulevard, areas around the Convention Center and parts of the Los Angeles River, according to Garcia.

The mayor also added that the visioning process will receive input from residents, downtown stakeholders and City partners from the Convention Center.

“The waterfront is critical to connecting the city to our coast,” Garcia said. “We have an opportunity to rethink what, how and where things should go in our waterfront.”

Courtesy City of Long Beach
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia provided updates on citywide developments during the second annual Building a Better Long Beach presentation hosted at the Beverly O’Neill Theater on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Garcia stated that proposed high-rises and towers will give a new face to downtown’s skyline, and he also announced a visioning process to revolutionize the city waterfront.

Throughout the presentation, Garcia stated that he and other city officials are vying to leave behind a robust skyline. He added that cities such as San Francisco and San Diego have iconic seaside downtowns and that Long Beach deserved one, as well.

“One of the things that we are seeing in this next phase of projects is that the skyline is going to start dramatically changing in the city,” Garcia said. “We are seeing some projects that are of higher density that have been approved, are under construction or are in the planning process right now.”

The rising trend of innovative building design is illustrated in a number of new high-rise projects that are currently in review, under construction or expected to break ground in the coming months. Three of these projects include a new hotel at 100 E. Ocean Blvd., the Shoreline Gateway and the West Gateway, the latter of which is slated to be located on the site of the World Trade Center parking lot.

The West Gateway is proposed to be Long Beach’s tallest skyscraper– projected to stand at 40-stories high and encompassing 694 residential units. The Broadway Block high-rise has been approved, but it is not under construction as of press time, according to a City of Long Beach spokesperson this week. It is proposed to stand at 23 stories, which will house 400 residential units, 14 affordable-housing units, an office space and retail departments.

Long Beach Civic Center tower is another project that Garcia said will reshape the skyline. When completed, the high-rise will be 36-stories high with residences and a hotel.

Garcia attributed much of the recent growth in development to the City’s planning and economic inclusion efforts, including the Downtown Plan, the Midtown Plan and the sale of properties owned by the former Long Beach Redevelopment Agency.

“The future of our city is very bright,” Garcia said. “We have an opportunity to build and create more housing, bring in more business, support more affordable development and also re-envision the way our waterfront connects to all the amazing projects happening in north Long Beach, in midtown and in the eastern part of our city.”

[Editor’s note: This article has been edited to reflect corrected information about the downtown projects, notably the Specific Plan, the Shoreline Gateway, the West Gateway and the Long Beach Civic Center.]