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A ‘Spark’ for the midtown community

County, city officials celebrate groundbreaking of affordable-housing facility on LB Boulevard

Pictured+is+a+rendering+of+The+Spark+at+Midtown%2C+a+future+95-unit+affordable+housing+development+for+low-income+and+homeless+individuals+that+is+set+to+open+in+2020%2C+according+to+officials.+
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A ‘Spark’ for the midtown community

Pictured is a rendering of The Spark at Midtown, a future 95-unit affordable housing development for low-income and homeless individuals that is set to open in 2020, according to officials.

Pictured is a rendering of The Spark at Midtown, a future 95-unit affordable housing development for low-income and homeless individuals that is set to open in 2020, according to officials.

Courtesy City of LB

Pictured is a rendering of The Spark at Midtown, a future 95-unit affordable housing development for low-income and homeless individuals that is set to open in 2020, according to officials.

Courtesy City of LB

Courtesy City of LB

Pictured is a rendering of The Spark at Midtown, a future 95-unit affordable housing development for low-income and homeless individuals that is set to open in 2020, according to officials.

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The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Community Investment Company (LBCIC) and LINC Housing Corporation (LINC), on Wednesday, March 20, celebrated the groundbreaking of The Spark at Midtown (The Spark), a 95-unit affordable housing development in midtown Long Beach.

Officials said that The Spark will be one of the first developments under Long Beach’s Midtown Specific Plan and will “ignite” the midtown area into “a thriving and livable community, promoting healthy living, education and opportunity, neighborhood engagement and connectivity.”

The event, featuring ceremonial shovels used by City and Los Angeles County elected officials and representatives from partner agencies, was held on the vacant lot at 1900-1940 Long Beach Blvd., where the five-story apartment project will be built.

Rebecca Clark, president and CEO of LINC Housing, said the nonprofit is celebrating 35 years of operation, and she believed the groundbreaking was a good way to celebrate that feat.

“I’m proud that we have gathered here in our corporate hometown, where we have actually been for over 25 years,” Clark said during the event. “[…] There’s going to be a catalyst, or a ‘spark,’ for the neighborhood. And truly my dream when I came to LINC over four years ago was to engage in a larger community development vision […] that really serves the needs of the community [and] the residents in the city as a whole.”

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune
Rebecca Clark, president and CEO of LINC Housing, said March 20 during the groundbreaking of The Spark at Midtown, a future affordable-housing facility on Long Beach Boulevard, that the facility will serve the needs of the community and residents in the city “as a whole.”

The Spark will feature a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units for individuals and families earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income, including 47 units reserved for households experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness, according to officials at the event. The development will also offer 12,388 square feet of ground-floor retail, including a new YMCA Youth Institute, a Mental Health America of Los Angeles café for workforce training and a Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center health clinic.

Residents will have access to over 11,000 square feet of common open space and residential amenities that will include a 3,700-square-foot community room with a kitchen and dining area, a community garden and a dedicated space for an after-school program for school-age residents.

Additional features include a community room with computer lab and bike amenities. Partnerships with the Los Angeles County of Department Health Services will allow LINC to serve the 47 formerly homeless households with intensive-case management services, while all future residents will have access to life-enhancing services through LINC Cares, officials said.

“This is something that is so dear to my heart,” said Dee Andrews, Long Beach vice mayor. “[…] To put a project like this in midtown, central town, the hood– whatever you want to call it. You’ve got to bring people in here that have been out in the streets, haven’t had any hope, any chance to think that, ‘Is anyone thinking about us?’ Well, this is going to show you that someone is thinking about the homeless, someone is out there really concerned.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the affordable-housing site The Spark at Midtown Wednesday, March 20, Vice Mayor Dee Andrews said the project is something that is “dear to my heart,” adding that the new site will indicate to displaced residents that officials are thinking about their needs.

In October 2017, the LBCIC approved an agreement to convey the project property to LINC, a nonprofit housing developer, and approved a total loan of $3 million to provide gap financing for the development of The Spark.

The Spark was designed in collaboration with City Fabrick, D33 Design & Planning, and WHA Architects, according to the Los Angeles County. The contractor is Walton Construction Services. The $52.6-million development is due to be completed in late 2020.

“The Spark at Midtown [is] a project that does it all,” said Janice Hahn, representing the 4th District for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “[It addresses] our housing crisis from every single angle. […] Spark just won’t be an asset to the residents who live here; it will be an asset to this great community at large.”

For more information on the City’s affordable housing and assistance programs, visit lbds.info and click on “Housing and Community Improvement.”

Bob Cabeza, vice president of community development for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, is pictured speaking to residents during the groundbreaking ceremony for The Spark at Midtown on Wednesday, March 20.

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A ‘Spark’ for the midtown community