Last night, after many years of public discussion and deliberation, the City Council gave final approval to plans for a new Civic Center for Long Beach. The new center will include iconic architecture, a completely new main library, a revitalized Lincoln Park with new spaces for events, a new City Hall, and the Port’s headquarters, as well as a residential and retail component. It will also be LEED certified and, unlike our current Civic Center, seismically sound.
Most importantly, it will cost the City less than we would have to spend to upgrade and maintain the current City Hall and library.
It is vital to move forward with this project, not just because our current Civic Center needs replacing, but because of the tremendous positive economic impact for downtown. More than 8,000 jobs will be created during construction, and the economic stimulation provided by new residences and retail will continue to bring benefits for years to come. With creative retail space, hundreds of new residential units, as well as a boutique hotel, the face of downtown will be transformed for the better.
It took a great deal of hard work to get to this point, and I want to thank all the city staff who put in many hours to see this project to completion. I also want to recognize the Board of Harbor Commissioners, the Planning Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Commission for supporting the new Civic Center, as well as the countless residents who came to the more than 100 public meetings to share their input and ideas. We couldn’t have done this without strong community support.
I want to express my appreciation to the City Council for its support. In particular, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal provided great leadership and advocacy for this project for the past several years. My predecessor, Bob Foster, also played a key role in getting this project off the ground during his tenure as Mayor, and this would not have been possible without his leadership in getting this project started. Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez has been an important supporter of the new Civic Center, working hard to keep the community informed and involved in the project. And State Senator Ricardo Lara was critical in passing the legislation necessary to approve the public-private partnership model we are using. My thanks also to the Downtown Long Beach Associates, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Residential Council, the Building Trades, Unite Here Local 11 and the entire LA County Federation of Labor for their support.
Finally, I want to recognize Plenary-Edgemoor, not only for the beautiful design they’ve created, but for their commitment to a thorough public process. They’ve been great partners.
You can view the plan here
Our new Civic Center is a crucial part of the continued renaissance of our downtown. With new residences and retail, the Port's headquarters, and a great new library and park space, the whole landscape of downtown is changing for the better. It’s an exciting new chapter for our city.