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Old Posted Jun 17, 2004, 12:01 AM
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longbeachnik longbeachnik is offline
Exploring the Cosmos
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mount Vernon, Wa.
Posts: 447
Plans for a 600-foot-tall tower on the waterfront in Long Beach have been toppled.

Russell Geyser, principal of the Geyser Group, has been shopping a “Tower of Toscana” project since last November. Geyser said the $100 million tower would become a landmark and tourist draw comparable to the Seattle Space Needle or the Eiffel Tower.

Geyser’s proposal was to take about 3.5 acres off Shoreline Drive currently being used for boat owner parking at the Downtown Shoreline Marina. The plans called for covered parking for the boat owners, a retail complex around the tower and several levels of restaurants, bars and other entertainment at the top.

But this week Geyser said he no longer was interested in doing business in Long Beach. He said in published reports that a failed plan for a restaurant in or near Alamitos Bay Landing forced the decision.

At the same time, the city’s Community Development Department has been circulating a Request For Proposals to create a development strategy for the land north of Shoreline Drive across from the tower site. That land — east of the temporary swimming stadium and the Long Beach Arena — currently is a surface parking lot. It is considered the last developable land on the downtown waterfront.

The deadline for the RFP was June 1. It had nothing to do with the tower proposal, according to Amy Bodek, Community Development project manager.

“I’ll say unequivocally that the RFP had nothing to do with the demise of the tower,” Bodek said. “In fact, this RFP wasn’t for development projects at all. It was for developing a strategy for dealing with the land.”

Much of the still-in-progress Pike at Rainbow Harbor commercial development west of the Long Beach Convention Center is on land that once was a parking lot north of Shoreline Drive. Bodek said that there has not been a decision whether to develop the property east of the convention center and arena at all. Options include banking the land for future convention center expansion, retail, hotel or parking uses or no development at all.

Geyser spent much of this spring presenting the Tower of Toscana proposal, complete with a professionally produced video, to Long Beach civic and business groups. He has said he already has spent $350,000 on the project.
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Oh well...at least construction will start on the city's new second tallest soon
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