- Melina Paris
By Melina Paris, Editorial Assistant
Long Beach hosted the grand opening of its new civic center and city hall in downtown July 29. A crowd of about 600 people showed up to the new town square to hear speakers and see the new complex.
The civic center houses several new municipal facilities. It includes a new city hall, new meeting facilities for the city council, the main new public library to be named for tennis icon Billie Jean King, opening in September, an administration building for the Port of Long Beach and a renewed Lincoln Park.
The complex is part of a multi-year, almost $1 billion transformation of the Long Beach Civic Center by a public-private partnership, which provides Long Beach with new municipal facilities in exchange for private developers gaining access to build housing, retail facilities and public amenities on the old civic-center land.
This project is notable in that it’s the largest public-private development of its kind on the West Coast and is expected to serve as a model for other cities in the United States. Private real estate developers agreed to build public buildings and a city park in exchange for land where they will build their own profit-making apartments, condominiums and stores.
The new civic center development, with nine partners and 13 separate agreements cost $428.3 million.
The grand opening celebration included comments by Mayor Robert Garcia and other city leaders.
Below are details about the new complex
- Public Services: the city hall first floor will support all cashier, city clerk, and citizen police complaint commission business activities. The city hall second floor will support all permitting needs and will house Development Services (Building and Safety, Code Enforcement and Planning), health, fire and Public Works groups.
First and second-floor operations will both utilize a new queuing system to provide a more streamlined service experience.
- Changes coming to the civic chambers: Meetings in the new Bob Foster Civic Chambers will function similarly to meetings in the old city hall. The public will enter through the main entrance of the city hall building and proceed to security where they will pass through metal detectors before entering the civic chambers.
- Construction schedule: construction will continue through 2022. After the Main Library is open, construction will begin on Lincoln Park, which is scheduled for completion in 2021. Private development in the old city hall location will take place through 2022.
- Lincoln Park and the Main Library: Demolition of the existing Main Library will begin in Fall 2019 and its grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 21, with the construction of Lincoln Park to follow. Planning for the revitalization of Lincoln Park’s 4.8 acres is underway now and is scheduled to reopen to the public in 2021.
- Current city hall property: As part of the city’s innovative public-private partnership with Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners, the land where city hall is located will be transferred for private development. Opportunities include mixed-use residential, retail and a hotel.