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  #81  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2004, 7:27 PM
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Council to weigh use of key waterfront site

$195,000 study on developing lot east of Arena on agenda.

By Jason Gewirtz
Staff writer

LONG BEACH ó The city could move closer tonight to determining what, if anything, to build on downtown's last major piece of developable waterfront land.

The City Council tonight will consider a $195,000 consulting study to determine how to develop a giant parking lot east of the Long Beach Arena into something that would attract tourists and visitors to the city.

If approved, the review would take nine months to complete. At the end, the Los Angeles-based consultant, Gruen Associates, would recommend the best possible use of the 2,000-space parking lot.

City officials say the timing is right to figure out what to do with the city-owned, formerly submerged property. With construction continuing on the nearby Pike at Rainbow Harbor complex, the arena parking lot is the final parcel of developable land along the city's downtown waterfront.

"It's pretty much our last opportunity to fill in the pieces of the puzzle," said Amy Bodek, the city's Project Development Bureau manager.

Ideas for the land have come and gone in the past.

Most recently, a developer proposed a 46-story Tower of Toscana at the site to rival Seattle's Space Needle. The project has since been abandoned, city officials said.

The city has also heard from others interested in a permanent aquatics center, coming off the success of the summer's Aquatics Festival. The event featured a 10,000-seat temporary grandstand and pool built on the parking lot to host the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials and other water sports events.

Other potential projects could include an expansion of the nearby Long Beach Convention Center, arena or Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Or, Bodek said, "The study could come back and say don't do anything, leave it as a parking lot."

If the council agrees to fund the study, the consultant would hold meetings with stakeholder groups before issuing a recommendation, Bodek said. Those groups are expected to include the Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the convention center, the Hyatt, the Grand Prix of Long Beach Association, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline Village, the Pike and nearby residents, including those on Ocean Boulevard.

Among the challenges any developer faces is how to accommodate the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which uses the parking lot as a staging area for the city's premier special event. The course also winds its way through the site.

Race officials said Monday it was too soon to comment as nothing has been proposed for the area.

"It's fair to say nothing at this point because we don't really know what's going to come out of this," said Chris Esslinger, spokesman for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

David Gordon, general manager of the convention center, expressed similar thoughts.

"We want to wait and see," he said.

Any development proposal would likely include a new parking configuration to make up for lost parking space, Bodek said. But there is also no guarantee any recommended project would be built soon, if at all.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to set forth a vision for that area," Bodek said. "Whether that vision is enacted in three years or 10 years is really not the issue."
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  #82  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2004, 2:28 AM
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Cool West Ocean Long Beach Project

I visited the sales office of the West Ocean Long Beach project. They had a cool model of the first tower. Very nice! Here are some pictures I took of the model. The rep stated that they will be breaking ground in December and they will build this tower along with the second smaller tower at the same time. The rep also palyed a cool video on a large plasma screen of the skyline with the two towers included, very dramatic. This first tower will stick out very nicely. At 30 floors, it will be a nice addition to the Long Beach Skyline!













Project Site for the two towers, current parking lot (right next to the pike).










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  #83  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2004, 3:25 AM
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This proves that their are height limits in LB and why.
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  #84  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2004, 3:27 AM
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I'm not sure, how does it prove there are height limits? Just curious. thnx
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  #85  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 3:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deehrler

This proves that their are height limits in LB and why.
Bah! The Ocean Blvd elevation is FUGLY! What a schizophrenic tower! The curved expanse that faces the Pike is gorgeous but that Ocean Blvd facade.....there's no excuse for that.


On the plus side however, the structure appears to be a good 33 floors from the base of the parking garage. assuming high ceilings in a for-sale project this oughta break 340+feet. I'm glad it's breaking ground in a few weeks. I was there last night and was getting a little worried.
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  #86  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 4:15 AM
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Okay, from what I'm getting here, it seems like LB is revitalizing very fast, but why is it having problems attracting retail at the Pike? What kind of retail are they trying to get?

This is my opinion on connecting DT LA with DT LB. There should be an express train from 7th St/Metro to LB with as few stops as possible. Is this feasible once the two centers are once again undeniably thriving with life?
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  #87  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 6:50 AM
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So you guys CAN see these pictures???
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  #88  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 7:37 AM
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By Don Jergler and Felix Sanchez
Staff writers

LONG BEACH ó Craig Joseph and a team of Big 5 Sporting Goods workers have had their work cut out for them. Putting the final touches on a new Big 5 at the downtown Long Beach CityPlace shopping center, workers have had to stand guard at the front door to shoo away customers who don't know the more than 11,000-square-foot sporting goods emporium won't open until Wednesday.
That's a good thing for a retailer, Joseph and other Big 5 executives say. Customers are already in that holiday spending mood, and Big 5 is ready.

It was similar thinking to capitalize on the Christmas holiday spending spree and publicly jump-start the project by CityPlace developers that led them to push the opening of the $100 million outdoor shopping center to November 2002.

CityPlace had thousands of square feet of retail space sitting vacant at the opening, much like a sister development, The Pike at Rainbow Harbor, when Developers Diversified Realty opened it to much fanfare in November 2003.

But key anchor stores Wal-Mart, Ross Dress for Less and Nordstrom Rack were already open at CityPlace in hopes of drawing holiday traffic.

The word from DDR executives and city of Long Beach officials who helped push the projects as key components to the revitalization of downtown using retail and new housing developments was that The Pike and CityPlace would fill with other retailers as buzz built.

Two years later, CityPlace has nearly 50 tenants and 80 percent occupancy and has become a popular place for diners and shoppers particularly during lunch hours. Down the bluff, The Pike at Rainbow Harbor has eateries such as P.F. Chang's, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., California Pizza Kitchen, Islands Fine Burgers, Gladstone's and Outback Steakhouse, anchoring a center with far more restaurants than retailers.

The restaurant portion of the Pike project seems to be a resounding success, with weekend wait times often an hour or more.

But storefronts still sit vacant in significant numbers at The Pike and to a smaller degree at CityPlace. And in what some might perceive as a way to "dress up" the vacancies, windows are decorated with colorful ads for the season's newest movies playing at The Pike, or the offerings at CityPlace's live playhouse.


A waiting game
Some tenants at The Pike and CityPlace say they are discouraged by the few number of retailers.
Tenants are quick to point out many of them are successful ó particularly those in high-traffic and high-visibility parts of the projects, such as those at The Pike with frontages facing the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center.

CityPlace's Wal-Mart is regularly packed with shoppers, many of them riding the Metro and transit systems or walking. And at noon downtown workers often stroll to the project's Ross and Nordstrom Rack.

But there are other, smaller stores in the Pike whose owners say they are simply getting by, waiting for the new retail that will bring them more customers.

They are emphatic, however, that they aren't close to going out of business, as bad publicity about the Pike in particular, might have suggested.

"I think we all feel like we wish it had happened sooner," said Melanie Fallon, the city's community development director.

When Bass Pro Shops, seen as an anchor store for The Pike, scratched plans to open a store there, other retailers wanting to hook the expected foot traffic were put in a holding pattern, Fallon said.

"Some retailers are waiting to see who the big retailer is going to be," she said.


Critical mass
So what is the reason for a lack of new retailers at the centers and downtown?
It may be "critical mass," which refers to having enough residents to build a demographic that will lure retailers to an area.

A massive, ongoing $1 billion investment in downtown is expected to eventually yield 3,637 residential units, 947,400 square feet of retail and 230 hotel rooms, according to a report released last week by Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA).

So far, 902 units have been completed and made available.


Good things to those who wait
"There's a number of factors that are playing into development here," said John Kokinchak, DDR's vice president of property management for specialty centers. "It takes time to make sure that you establish the right tenant mix."
Kokinchak acknowledges "the Pike and CityPlace perhaps have't progressed as quickly as we would have liked," but he views the centers as puzzles whose missing pieces will be found soon. "Clearly we are creating critical mass down along that whole area with all of the restaurants" he said. "And clearly the retail portion lies in all the residential projects that are taking place. Once that is completed you're going to see that critical mass grow."

The list of successful restaurants at the Pike continue to grow. Buca di Beppo has finalized a contract to go into the Pike and construction on a Chili's is underway.

"We are very close to completing negotiations on what I would consider to be two major openings," Kokinchak said.

He described the two retailers as big-box operations that will take "well over 5,000 square feet each."

His definition of a box-box store includes "a big sporting goods store, a Circuit City, a Marshall's, Ross Dress 4 Less," he said, declining to say who DDR is in talks with.

The Pike is 67 percent leased, and when the two deals close that will take the center to 80 percent.

"In a year's time, 80 percent occupancy is a respectable number," he said.

CityPlace is 80 percent occupied, but that figure, too, may be about to change.

"We have three deals that we are negotiating along Pine," Kokinchak said, adding all that all three are retailers.


Environmental hurdles
Project delays and loss of potential retailers at the Pike also are being chalked up to environmental hurdles because of its location in a Tidelands area.
Any use of Tidelands properties must be related to water, or a project that draws visitors to the shoreline. That could include gift shops, restaurants and hotels, according to the State Lands Commission, which regulates the Tidelands. General uses are restricted on the public-trust terrain, such as supermarkets, offices, schools, libraries and residential units.

"There are retailers who have been interested, who would love to go (in The Pike) but do not meet this test," said Fallon, declining to name those retailers. "There have been a couple that have been pretty big."

A T-Mobile store in The Pike, for example, was required to relocate within the center because it did not fit the designated Tidelands usage.

Under the original development plan, not all prospective tenants qualified under the restrictions, so the city negotiated with the Lands Commission to allow non-tidelands uses in five of the parcels.

Frustrated by repeated delays, those tenants pulled out of the project and the developer has been left to refill the parcels with others, Fallon said.


The cold shoulder
Local design experts say another problem with the Pike is it isn't pedestrian-friendly.
"I think you really need a talented design team to look at (The Pike) comprehensively," says Jonathan Glasgow, an architect with Interstices, designer of the Walker and Kress lofts on Pine Avenue. "I think DDR has proved not to have visioning design capabilities. Between CityPlace and that place, it's just not top-caliber work."

The Pike's design is criticized in a new book on city architecture.

"The way (the Pike) sits, it almost turns its back on the city," said Cara Mullio, co-author with Jennifer Volland of "Long Beach Architecture: The Unexpected Metropolis," released earlier this month.

"Not linking the Pike to Pine Avenue was a big problem in terms of pedestrian traffic and attention," Mullio said. "You're confronted with two large parking structures and a roller coaster bridge."

More green space and environmental elements would draw more visitors to what is now an uninviting design, Glasgow and Mullio said. Only a Ferris wheel and carousel, both still unopened, are welcoming, Glasgow said.

"There's not really any activity except those couple elements facing Shoreline Drive," he said.


Blame the economy, too
The economy could be partially to blame for the lack of progress at the developments ó the last few years have not been a great for retail expansion, experts say ó but other similar developers have fared much better, said Richard Giss, with accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP, which tracks retail trends.
"It's a tough time for retail investors right now, but there are still retailers that are expanding," Giss said. "I would suspect it would be with that center."

For example, Paseo Colorado in Pasadena, also operated by DDR, is "doing really well," Giss said.

The difference is that "Paseo Colorado is located in the middle of a land mass, and Rainbow Harbor is at the end of a land mass, so you're drawing from 180 degrees instead of 360 degrees," he said. "You have to get retailers in there that get somebody to drive there."

One retailer won't make the difference, either. Centers like the Pike need several working together, Giss said.

"You need a package of retailers, and that package has to be a compelling argument for the consumer to go visit that location."

The formula is simple: anchor tenants, such as department stores or big-box retailers, are surrounded with specialty retailers that feed off consumers heading to the anchors. The specialty stores create repeat customers, generating more business for the anchors.

"The developer down at Rainbow Harbor has to put together a package of retailers that are Ö different from one another but also compatible," Giss said. "It really relies on this symbiotic relationship. They have to feed off one another. And if you don't have a full complement of retailers in there, it makes it difficult for the others to pull their oar. You've got to have restaurants, entertainment and retail."

Tough times Major retailers do not always like to gamble on an unproven location, according to the analyst.

"The problem is that retailers, they want a sure thing," Giss said. "You need to get some more retailers in there, and if you don't do that, you could have the pioneers become the ones with the arrows in their backs."

Such was the fate of two CityPlace tenants.

Merle Norman in CityPlace shut down in February after less than a year.

"If the traffic had been better, I would still be there," owner Shiela Wallace said after closing the store. "I did everything I could there just wasn't enough to sustain it."

KB Toys is closing its CityPlace location along with others as part of bankruptcy reorganization.

"Suffice it to say, these stores under-performed," said John Reilly, a chain spokesman.


Holiday dollars
Pike tenants were recently given a marketing overview of some of the things DDR will do to stimulate visits, including opening the carousel and Ferris wheel ó two attractions that evoke the namesake Pike amusement park, which for decades, brought visitors downtown.
Mario Duarte, owner of Kelly's Coffee & Fudge at The Pike, said his business has been steady, but not gotten better since opening.

"I thought we would be doing three or four times as much business as we're doing now," he said. "You need to reach people not only from Long Beach but from other counties and they're not doing that yet."

The problem is lack of shopping, he said.

Why go to The Pike when a 30-minute drive leads to Irvine Spectrum, which has a pedestrian-friendly array of restaurants, arcades, movie theaters and retail stores?

At CityPlace, tenants say business is picking up as the holiday season approaches.

Customers have different ideas about whether CityPlace or The Pike will be a holiday shopping destination outside of stalwart Wal-Mart.

"I'll go holiday shopping to Fashion Island in Newport Beach before coming here," said Long Beach resident Ed Schibig, who was spending a lunch break shopping at Nordstrom Rack last week.

Robert and Dayana Levy, of Long Beach, split on their opinions of CityPlace and the Pike.

"The Pike has a lot of nice people there, and it's nice to go eat and walk around," Dayana Levy said. "CityPlace has its ups and downs. But it's convenient."

Her husband prefers CityPlace because of convenient parking. He called getting to Bubba Gump Shrimp and other popular destinations in The Pike a hassle.

"It's congested," he said.

Not alone The lack of retailers at The Pike and CityPlace is a not a singular phenomena for downtown Long Beach.

"I think that we'd all like to see a nice entertainment-retail mix down there," said Todd Cutts, who recruits businesses for Downtown Long Beach Associates.

The DLBA has launched a multifaceted campaign to market downtown, and is working to get more retailers for downtown's restaurant-and entertainment-rich Pine Avenue.

"Whenever retailers make a decision in the area, it's a function, No. 1, of economics," Cutts said. "They are going to find the safest, easiest investment."

Potential good news came for The Pike earlier this month when the Sierra Suites Hotel chain announced it is applying for permission from the city to build a 140-room hotel.

The Pike may just need a laugh.

The Laugh Factory is set to open in April, a year later than anticipated. Club owners forged ahead with the opening of a Times Square Club in New York because of development delays in opening The Pike, said Joane Bouman, a club spokeswoman.

The original Hollywood club draws large crowds and celebrities. Dave Chappelle reportedly showed up at the back door of the club to perform last month and audience members regularly include the likes of movie stars Chris Tucker and Jamie Foxx.

"We intend to bring that sort of ambience, and that sort of high-end talent to The Pike," said Bouman.

Bouman said her company is unconcerned about retail at the center.

"People come to us," she said. "We're going to be a huge draw for everybody else. We're planning on being a real cornerstone there."

ó Staff reporter Joe Segura contributed to this story
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  #89  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 9:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAMetroGuy

"I'll go holiday shopping to Fashion Island in Newport Beach before coming here," said Long Beach resident Ed Schibig, who was spending a lunch break shopping at Nordstrom Rack last week.


Thanks for posting that article, LAmG. When I see Schibig's comment, I'm reminded again that if a city takes too long to improve its hoods, such places will be in rocky shape for a long time & will easily lose out to other towns.

I knew there was some growing pains with the new Pike devlpt, but I was hoping the somewhat older & more ideally located CityPlace was doing much better. It certainly has to be doing better than the old LB Plaza it replaced.

I know that reported attendance problems with the LB Aquarium awhile back were attributed to lack of devlpt around the bldg, so if the new nearby Pike area turns out to not be adding enough energy to the area, that will be totally unacceptable.

The designers of the Pike should have done no less than what Rick Caruso did with his Grove proj (or prob what his future Glendale proj will be like), & I hope the owners will insert improvements that should have been there to begin with. The local population around CityPlace also needs to be much larger & has to have a higher level of disposable income. Nonetheless, I'm more optimistic about DT LB's potential today than in the past, & if the city can start building even more quality housing throughout the area, DT may finally start to pick up speed.

Newport Bch is nice, but I think DT LB is more interesting. Hopefully ppl who live in NB in the future will be saying "I'll go holiday shopping in Long Beach & visit the various sights up there before sticking around here to see the same-old, same-old Fashion Island."
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  #90  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2004, 6:35 PM
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DT Long Beach really need better and more well known retail to draw even the locals from the outter neighborhoods. Thats the biggest complaint from everyone I know. They are excited about what has happen thus far, but don't feel there is enough to keep them coming back. Downtown LB has a interesting feel to it, and the evenings (especially Friday & Saturday night) are quite busy. I have often heard visitors thrilled and rather surprised at what DT LB has to offer. Yet the locals are more critical and would like to see much more to actually draw them downtown. Many also hate the fact that them have to pay or parking if they visit the new movie theater. I think either get two or three hours free, but at the restaurant it two hours. So a good number of locals Long Beach residents in the surrounding areas will choose to drive to the edge of LB over to the Towne Center. Personally I hate the set-up at the towne center. The parking is bad, and the traffic getting into this center can cause a heart attack. Yet they offer the retail that most people like. Even with the hassles the towne center draws a lot of people. This just goes to show you that if we have the right mix in retail/restaurants the people will come.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2004, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisla
So a good number of locals Long Beach residents in the surrounding areas will choose to drive to the edge of LB over to the Towne Center. Personally I hate the set-up at the towne center. The parking is bad, and the traffic getting into this center can cause a heart attack.


If you have only a vague idea of the place Chrisla is referring to, the LBTC is a few miles south of the often promoted Cerritos Auto Sq, along the 605, & was built not too many yrs ago. I used to wonder why its owners included such a huge parking lot in the middle of all the TC's big box retailing, but after seeing how packed it can get on weekends, now I know why. The writers of the LB Press Telegram article mentioned the Irvine Spectrum as major competition to DT LB, but they really should have pointed to the LBTC.

The TC to me is a throwback to typical sprawling 1-floor shopping cts of 1950s burbs, & I think it's kind of dull & discouraging. But the devlps proved the motto "build it and they will come". If that's not been as true of the Pike or CityPlace, then it's because DT LB still doesn't have a big enough population base, at least one with a fair amt of $$ to spend, & a strong enough image. DT LB is like a southern LA county version of DT LA.

Both DT LB & DT LA show that a town has got to turn things around a lot faster, or else success will be harder to find. I like to think that city govts & local ppl are starting to understand that, & will want to push up the speed of improvments, or what is the OPPOSITE of Nimbysm.
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  #92  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2004, 1:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAMetroGuy
I'm not sure, how does it prove there are height limits? Just curious. thnx
Would you please take a look at that Geat Beam in the Sky?

It looks like they ran out of room for their model.

Sorry for being flippant.
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2004, 9:06 PM
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County may refit L.B. courthouse

Up to $20M may be spent on aging facility; plans for new structure held up.

By Wendy Thomas Russell
Staff writer

LONG BEACH ó One local attorney called it putting "lipstick on a pig."
Yet Los Angeles County officials appear to be moving forward on a $12 million to $20million seismic retrofit of Long Beach's antiquated, overcrowded courthouse on Ocean Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue.

The county-funded retrofit will take a few years to complete, and discussion of the project has already raised concerns about asbestos exposure and other construction-related nuisances among courthouse personnel. What's more, court officials argue, the project would not add courtrooms or address the 1958 building's general deterioration.

The county may have little choice.

A proposal for a new, $126million Long Beach Courthouse at Broadway and Magnolia Avenue envisioned as a public-private venture has enthusiastic local support. But its success rides on whether the state Judicial Council of California sets a date to take over the courthouse, as mandated by law. If the state cannot guarantee a lease for the proposed courthouse, the county could not consider a land deal.

"Obviously, a new courthouse would be a win-win for everyone," County Supervisor Don Knabe, whose 4th District includes Long Beach, said, "but, you know, we can't sign on the dotted line without some guarantee that the state is going to pay for it."

The state budget crisis has compounded the problem, slowing the pace of the courthouse takeovers. There are a plethora of needy courthouses throughout the state, said Judicial Council spokeswoman Lynn Holton. And so far, she said, Long Beach Superior Court the seventh-largest court in the state is nowhere near the top of the list.

It's unclear when the state would take over the building, she said, leaving the court's future in limbo.

"It's a very large project," said Long Beach Superior Court Presiding Judge Bradford Andrews, a proponent of the a new courthouse. "It's a very big commitment for the county, and, of course, everyone is in the position right now where we don't have any money."

Three developers have offered to build a new courthouse at no cost to the county in exchange for the land where the current building sits at 415 W. Ocean Blvd. That land, across the street from the new Camden at Harbor View apartments, is considered prime downtown real estate by developers.

The proposal has involved Kam Babaoff, managing director of Ensemble Investments, who agreed to erect a building with at least 32 courtrooms. The current courthouse has 25, which is considered inadequate by court officials.

Babaoff also agreed to raze the court parking structure at Broadway and Magnolia, and to build a new structure that could also accommodate employees and visitors to the nearby Long Beach Federal Building, which has no designated parking.

As proposed, the developers would then lease the new courthouse to the county at about $4 million a year, with an option to buy, Andrews has said.

"We are hoping that they will design this as a demonstration project, a demonstration of public-private financing," he said.

Meanwhile, the retrofit may be just months away. County engineers have said the building is far from earthquake-safe and an ever-widening gap between the old and new wings of the courthouse necessitates reconstruction as quickly as possible.

"I can't sit here and ignore the county engineers' issues," Knabe said. "We're proceeding down that line because we don't know when (the state will take over) whether it's going to be a year from now or 20 years from now. We have to protect people."

ó Staff writer David Rogers contributed to this report.
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  #94  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 1:03 AM
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Who on the board lives or visits Long Beach?
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 1:38 AM
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I must admit that I prefer LBTC to The Pike.

I have often used LBTC to meet with family driving up from OC. It is a convenient midway point and parking is FREE. Sometimes the parking situation is not the easiest, but it just means you have to park farther away. Also, the Edwards cinema is far larger than the Cinemark theater, so no matter when you arrive you have a better selection of movies playing within a reasonable timeframe. There are also more affordable eateries at LBTC and diverse, while at The Pike it seems to be more continental. Last, almost to be ironic, I would say the center of LBTC is more pedestrian friendly than the Pike. The Pike has little streets running through it, it is a very strange setup. I was very excited long before The Pike opened, but after I visited it just once, I was severely let down. The whole orientation of the place is very backwards. Hopefully some renovations soon will save the place.

Downtown Long Beach seems to be the area that almost succeeds, while never completely achieving its goal. I do think the increasing residential population and the newer cruise ship terminal should help each of the area's elements work together.
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  #96  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 2:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAMetroGuy
Who on the board lives or visits Long Beach?
I live in downtown Long Beach. Why?
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  #97  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 2:13 AM
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Originally Posted by LAmetroman
Downtown Long Beach seems to be the area that almost succeeds, while never completely achieving its goal. I do think the increasing residential population and the newer cruise ship terminal should help each of the area's elements work together.
I think DT LB is okay, but there still seems to be a piece of the puzzle missing. The income is sort of mix where there are upper income along the beach front to middleclass on other parts. Then we have the down right poor, and a few druggies/hippies who still thinks its 1970.

I think LB really needs to look at the success of Santa Monica. DT Santa Monica (3rd Street Promenade) came a long ways from what it was in the 80's. In some ways I think it was far worse than LB Pine Avenue ever was.

Last edited by ChrisLA; Dec 10, 2004 at 8:44 AM.
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  #98  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 5:51 AM
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Well, I currently live in north LB (bixby knolls) but am moving to downtown LB in March. I wanted to find out what it is like to live there rather than just visit the pike, i know there is more to downtown LB than the Pike.
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  #99  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 8:41 AM
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Originally Posted by LAMetroGuy
Well, I currently live in north LB (bixby knolls) but am moving to downtown LB in March. I wanted to find out what it is like to live there rather than just visit the pike, i know there is more to downtown LB than the Pike.
I understand your dilemma since I too had originally moved from Bixby Knolls to DT Long Beach a bit over 4 years ago. I was a bit unsure at first because I really didn't know much about the neighborhood. It certainly was much more urban and gritty compared to the well manicured lawns of Bixby. Anyway for me DT is a bit more busier since I live right on the street, as opposed to being in an apartment facing the courtyard and away from the street. I ended up downtown because the supply of condo's in Bixby was hard to come by. Even before the recent real estate boom, I had problems with people outbidding each other for an affordable place. As you know a home in Bixby is only for the well off to afford. I think overall the rent is a bit cheaper in Bixby as compared to DT LB.

Anyway I have come to love DT Long Beach, and I think it would be really hard to move somewhere else in LB. It's has grit, we have glamour, along with the urban city life. You also have the options of not using your car, and you can walk most places. I also take advantage of free Passport buses to get me around the area when I don't feel like walking. The Pike has it negatives of course, but I still rather to see a movies at Cinemark over Edwards at the LB Towne Center since both are new with stadium seating. Cinemark is also less crowded, and less hassle since you don't really have to drive there and look for parking.

I live off of Magnolia and 6th and I've never had any problems in this area. There are a few hippies/druggies thats been around for a while, but they are harmless. Most of my neighbors know who they are, but for the most part its pretty safe. There has never been any gang activity, or any bullets flying. If thats what you are worried about, it not a problem. There are a few spots that are cheezy, but not really bad like perhaps Compton, or even parts of North LB. There is a mix of people that live down here, so I would say just expect to see all kinds. It can get interesting some days, and my nephew and I get a laugh at times. We sometimes joke about the freaks coming out at night, especially at the Vons Supermarket on Broadway. If you end up shopping at the new Albertsons, you'll notice there is the yuppies, as well as the strange. It won't be your suburban supermarket. Wallmart on the other hand is just ghetto, but you still see a few yuppies, and even tourists (mostly europeans, and asians). Its beyond me why they would want to visit WallMart, but they do. I'm also guilty of shopping there for household items such as dishsoap, and things such as toothpaste. But I think many of the locals do as well.

The other thing I like visiting is the waterfront. The Yard House is a cool little spot for summer nights. They have a late night menu thats faily cheap. Its just a nice place to hang out on the patio looking at the marina. There are so many cool spots that most people outside the neighborhood don't really know about. They are far more than I can note in this reply. But trust me, Bixby Knolls can't compete. My suggestion is to get a pair of rollerblades and just explore. You will find all kinds of treasures that you don't notice when you just driving through. As you know the beach front is also downtown, and I spend many summer mornings skating along the bike path all the way down to the pier. There is also the Latin American museum, and the LB Museum of Art, and many other cultural events that happens downtown. That is if you like this kind of entertainment. There is also the Blue Cafe which seems to be quite popular. You are probably already aware Pine Avenue is full of night spots. I personally like Alegria, but there are many many good eats and night spots down here. I'm not one who frequent many of the night spots, but the ones I've been to are pretty good and not sleezy. I think you will love being so close to the ocean, well at least I am. Just taking a stroll/drive down Ocean Avenue, or walking along the bluffs will make you fall in love with this area. Seeing those highrises at night from the light tower, will quickly calm all fears of living down here.

I know this was very long, but I wanted to try and give you my experience. It will take some adjustment from Bixby, but for the good at least in my opinion. Also one of my relatives loves it downtown, and she moved from the white picket fence city of Rancho Cucamonga. Recently another relative (my nephew) has moved here from Ontario, and he swears he'll never move back to the Inland Empire. If you have any more question feel free to PM me and I'll try my best to answer your questions.

Last edited by ChrisLA; Dec 10, 2004 at 9:27 AM.
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  #100  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2004, 8:57 AM
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Wow, sounds like DT LB is winning the race against DT LA so far!
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