Shooting for the stars: Satellite companies find renewed interest in Long Beach, mayor says during ‘Building a Better LB’ event

Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
A large crowd gathers at the Beverly O’Neill Theatre in downtown on Sept. 24 for the “Building a Better Long Beach” event in which Mayor Robert Garcia updated the public on completed, soon to be completed and proposed construction projects citywide.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia took centerstage Tuesday inside the Beverly O’Neill Theatre in downtown to provide updates of the various construction projects that are taking place throughout the city as part of the “Building a Better Long Beach” event.

From completed projects to new developments in the pipeline, Garcia emphasized that the city is focusing on building more housing and meeting the demand for hotel rooms. About $3.5 billion are being invested in the form of housing, port renovation and education developments, Garcia said.

LB Space Race
Garcia announced that satellite-development companies have established headquarters in Long Beach and are interested in the city’s growth.

Virgin Mobile’s Virgin Orbit, which manufactures and launches satellites into space, has established a main office on 4022 E. Conant St. in Long Beach and is expecting to expand its facility in the future, Garcia said.

A fairly new company in the space industry, SpinLaunch, also established a foothold in Long Beach at 4350 E. Conant St. and is poised to engage in “friendly competition” with Virgin Orbit in the development of satellites, Garcia said.

Companies that are not so invested in space but are interested in the advancement of technology have also made Long Beach their home. The mayor highlighted the recent construction of Laserfishe’s offices in the 7th Council District. Garcia congratulated the software engineer company for their decision to settle an office in Long Beach

The mayor said that Laserfiche is looking to fill new positions as it continues to expand throughout the city.

Garcia also highlighted Zwift, a video-game developer that creates virtual running and cycling games, which opened a new office on 111 W. Ocean Blvd. That company is also hiring in various Long Beach positions, according to its website.

Airport update
Garcia announced that improvements to the terminals at the Long Beach Airport (LGB) are also in the works. By 2020, the second phase of airport updates will have improved the rent-a-car area, the luggage drop-off and pick-up experience for travelers and the flow of traffic in and out of LGB.

By the sea
The mayor revealed that 2nd + PCH, a large retail and high-end dining development taking place on Pacific Coast Highway, will open sometime in next month.

Garcia said the city is looking to invest “significant” resources toward the traffic circle located at Los Coyotes Diagonal by 2020. He said a large “Long Beach” sign will be installed and the circle will undergo updated landscaping.

The circle will become a “great experience” for motorists Garcia said.

The controversial Belmont Shore Aquatic Center is currently under review, according to Garcia.

“This project will be built,” he said.

The aquatic center project faced some concerns in 2017 from the California Coastal Commission citing the threat of rising ocean levels.

North LB
Garcia shifted the presentation toward developments in north Long Beach.

“All the next big stuff happening right now is in north Long Beach,” Garcia said.

The mayor announced a small-business hub called The Beat proposed to be built on Atlantic Avenue and will span from 56th Street to 60th Street.

The project will be a “walkable village” of entrepreneur shops and coffee houses. That project is currently under review.

Garcia said the Uptown, a retail update for Harding Plaza strip mall near Houghton Park, is also moving forward with construction.

Midtown housing
Garcia said the state is faced with a housing crisis, and to alleviate the challenge, the city is pushing to build more affordable housing.

The midtown area of Long Beach, concentrated to the west in the 4th Council District under Councilmember Daryl Supernaw, is experiencing a housing boom. Long Beach Boulevard around the Metro Blue Line is slated to future housing projects, according to Garcia.

The city high-rise skyline is something Garcia said he’s wanted to see grow.

“I’m a big believer that we have got to grow our skyline,” he said.

The mayor announced major high rise buildings such as the Shoreline Gateway, which is expected to be one of tallest buildings in the city. That project has already broke ground and is currently under construction at 777 E Ocean Blvd.

The Blue Line is seeing a facelift, as well, the mayor said, and Metro is investing $1 billion toward its improvement.

Although most of it has been closed for construction, Garcia said that parts of the Blue Line have been opened for tests. He added the full transit line should be opened by next month.

Those riding the updated Blue Line will experience new cars, see new security cameras and have their commute from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Long Beach cut down by 10 minutes.

The mayor announced that the express bus, which started as an experiment for transit users, will be a permanent addition to the city–– an announcement that drew applause from the crowd.

“Developers are investing in Long Beach with over 4,000 new housing and new commercial developments, families are investing in Long Beach by moving into our city, and 2,000 new businesses are investing and opening in Long Beach every year,” Garcia said. “Long Beach continues to be a city on the move, and there’s so much still to come.”