Big plans Housing/office complex would be largest in L.B.
L.B.: Now developers go to work on getting city approval for housing/office complex that Mayor Foster says will `dramatically change this area.'
By Don Jergler, Staff writer
Article Launched: 11/09/2007 09:09:52 PM PST
Office space in the 250,000-square-foot Golden Shore project would be filled exclusively by Molina Healthcare and the law firm of Keesal, Young & Logan. (Rendering)LONG BEACH - Plans unveiled Friday for a proposed $2 billion development that would be the city's largest include 1,370 residential units and 250,000 square feet of office space in five high-rise buildings.
Three of those planned buildings are 36-story residential towers that would become the city's tallest buildings at about 420 feet each, easily topping the 397-foot World Trade Center across the street.
The waterfront project at Ocean Boulevard and Golden Shore Avenue on downtown's western edge was unveiled on the top floor of the 14-floor Union Bank of California building, which is set to be demolished under the plans along with two other buildings.
"It may be an understatement to say it's a major project," Mayor
Marilyn A. Whitcomb, center, executive director of the law offices of Keesal, Young & Logan, introduces the three-dimensional model of the proposed mixed-use Golden Shore Development to John Molina, Samuel Keesal, George Medak, Mario Molina, and Mayor Bob Foster, from left, during a news conference on Friday. ( Diandra Jay/Staff Photographer )Bob Foster said at an afternoon news conference in the Union Bank building. "It will dramatically change this area."
The project, which is being called the "Golden Shore Master Plan," will include land that houses Molina Healthcare's offices at 1 Golden Shore Ave. as well as the City National Bank property at 11 Golden Shore Ave. and the Union Bank of California building on the southeast corner of Ocean and Golden Shore.
Those involved in the project include prominent business law firm Keesal, Young & Logan and publicly traded Molina, as well as prolific downtown developer George Medak.
Asked about the cost of the project, Medak said, "I'm guessing in the neighborhood of $2-$2.5 billion."
According to plans, Molina and Keesal, Young & Logan would take up all the office space in the new buildings. That means when construction begins the current tenants in the buildings will have to find other space, Medak said.
"Most of them are on a year-to-year
tenancy, and some are month to month, and they know they've got about three years and they will have to make alternate plans."
One of the larger tenants is City National Bank.
Daniel Minkoff, a spokesman for City National, declined to comment on the future plans for where the bank would take up residency.
The two tallest buildings in the project - the bank buildings - will likely be demolished by implosion, Medak said.
The project calls for two phases over 10 years, with the first phase allowing the project's first residents to begin moving in within six or seven years, Medak said.
Plans also call for all five buildings to be "green," and built to achieve silver Leed certification, one of the highest environmental designations in development.
Developers have not yet sought public approval for the project. Approval by the city's Planning Commission, the City Council and the state Coastal Commission would be required to greenlight any such development.
Medak has been involved with the entitlement of many of downtown's largest projects, most recently the Aqua condominiums on Ocean.
Many of Medak's projects have gone through without a hitch. Others, such as a proposal for building another massive project behind the World Trade Center that includes 55-story and 45-story towers, have been stalled because of the housing downturn, Medak said.
Medak is also a financial partner in the rebuilding of Legends Sports Bar in Belmont Shore, which burned down two years ago.
Keesal, Young & Logan, which has been headquartered in downtown Long Beach for 37 years, purchased a portion of the site earlier in the year.
Molina joined with them, both firms recruited Medak and the project expanded from there.
"We're really excited about doing something special here," said Keesal founder Skip Keesal.
Molina President and CEO Mario Molina said his firm is desperately in need of additional office space.
"We're growing at a rate of about 15 percent per year," Molina said. "There's just not enough commercial real estate in Long Beach."
Molina takes up the two-story building at 1 Golden Shore, and more than half the floor space in one of the two Arco Center towers across the street.
The publicly traded health care firm, which employes more than 1,000 people, would occupy the new office space along with Keesal.
Medak said he's confident the residential units will sell because by the time the project is complete the market will have turned around.
"We think the market in six years is going to be back again," he said.
It will take about 15 months to complete a required environmental report, and more time for entitlement and approval by the city's Planning Department, the City Council and the state Coastal Commission.
"It's going to be three years before we break ground," he said.
Before the conference Medak and Foster discussed the project and the two poked fun at each other.
"When do you start to turn dirt?" Foster asked Medak.
"It depends on the city," Medak quipped.