With a population of nearly half a million people, Long Beach is the second largest municipality in Los Angeles County. The city is known for its waterfront attractions, including the retired Queen Mary British cruise ship and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Lately, it’s also been home to a number of large developments. This special report looks at a few.
Ocean and Cherry
Location: 2010 E. Ocean Blvd.
Description: Once completed, Ocean and Cherry will be a large mixed-use project with a five-star 40-key hotel, plus 30 extended-stay rooms and 26 condominium flats and townhouses. The development will feature a number of luxurious amenities, such as a pool, a spa, a rooftop bar, a restaurant and a beach level terrace café.
Developer: Silversands Properties USA Inc.
Architect: Studio One Eleven
Estimated Completion Date: Q3 2025
Location: 2200 E 7th St
Description: The Dawson is a limited collection of 23 three-story townhomes. Floor plans range from two to four-bedrooms, and each home includes a two-car garage, a private rooftop deck and installed solar panels. The development is opening in phases, with the entire project set to be completed by the beginning of next year.
Developer: RC Homes
Architect: Angeleno Associates
Estimated Completion Date: Q1 2024
Inkwell Long Beach
Location: 201 The Promenade N
Description: Situated in downtown Long Beach, Inkwell Long Beach is a mixed-use development that will bring 189 residential units into an eight-story building with 10,000 square feet of retail occupying the ground floor. Units will range from studios up to three bedrooms. Leasing will begin in January of next year.
Developer: Alliance Residential
Architect: Studio T-SQ Inc.
Estimated Completion Date: Q1 2024
3rd & Pacific
Location: 300 Pacific Avenue
Description: 3rd & Pacific will bring 271 units of fully market-rate housing to Long Beach, spread across eight stories with two stories of below grade parking. In addition, the mixed-use development will feature 2,600 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus the addition of a public paseo along Roble Way.
Developers: NASH and Holland Partner Group
Architect: Studio One Eleven
Estimated Completion Date: Q2 2025
Five Questions with Studio One Eleven’s Michael Bohn
Long Beach native Michael Bohn joined Studio One Eleven in 2005. He works as a partner at the architecture firm, along with Alan Pullman who founded the company in 2000. Studio One Eleven, which is based in Long Beach, looks to design in areas where the urban bones are strong and is known for dominating its home turf field. The firm is currently designing a variety of different asset types in the city – including multifamily, hotel, retail, student housing, as well as doing an airport restoration.
Studio One Eleven seems to be designing many of the current projects happening in Long Beach. What makes Long Beach a desirable submarket?
Well, if Long Beach wasn’t next to downtown Los Angeles, or Los Angeles in general, we would be a very significant city. We’re a city of almost half a million people and, if we were dropped in the Midwest, we would probably have our own football team. We are a bit in the shadows of the city of Los Angeles, and that’s okay. What I really like about it is it’s the only waterfront metropolis between San Diego and San Francisco and it creates a very unique environment. Our city has an urban downtown right on the water. It has wonderful neighborhoods that are very unique, older neighborhoods, post-war neighborhoods. I really enjoy that diversity of urbanism and architecture. I think it’s an unknown treasure trove.
What’s it like working on such a wide array of asset types?
It’s really great. It keeps me on my toes, and I think there’s a lot of cross pollination because we don’t do one (asset) type 300 times every year. We look at things very freshly and I think our experiences in one typology can inform other types of typologies. And ultimately (the goal is) that these projects contribute to a greater whole. The bottom line is very important. We have to follow budgets and pro formas. But what are their greater contributions to the community? That’s really what keeps me getting up every day.
Are there any rules or regulations or other external factors in place that are changing the market
The pandemic has been a huge disruptor. And our downtown, like many downtowns, doesn’t have as much street life as it used to have. We only have half the amount of office workers coming in every day, and that has a negative effect. But at the same time, what to do with those empty buildings has created an opportunity. We recently finished 200 Ocean, which was an office building that we converted to housing. It’s got one of the highest leases per square foot in the city because it’s unique. It has a good sustainable story that we reduced the embodied carbon by almost 80% because we worked with a building in place. It’s a very green building and it has taller floor to floor ceiling heights than a regular developer would ever build. But because it was an office building and designed for office space, converting it to housing has created really tall, lofty spaces and lots of windows with great views.
What’s a project you’re working on that you’re really excited about?
We’re on a second project (400 Ocean Gate) that is an office tower being converted to housing and it’s taller. I believe it’s 14 stories. I just love taking these underutilized or virtually empty spaces (and transforming them). Fifteen or 20 years ago, the approach would be ‘tear it down and build something new.’
Another big disruption is climate change, and this ability to refurbish, restore, readapt or adaptive reuse is really exciting. We’ve actually done over two dozen adaptive reuse projects, from churches to entertainment, to even our office (headquarters) is an example of adaptive reuse. It used to be a Nordstrom Rack and we’ve converted it into a place for 130 people to work every day. I guess adaptive reuse is in my blood, it’s in our office’s blood and I think this latest office-to-
housing conversion (trend) is great.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love so much of my job. I love sketching. I love drawing, ideating, coming up with those initial concepts that you can throw away easily and come up with new ideas, but just that ideation phase and coming up with a big idea (is probably my favorite).
BY THE NUMBERS
Inventory: 8,321,797 square feet
Vacancy rate: 28.3%
Average asking rent: $2.61 per square foot
Under construction: 0 square feet
Year to date delivered: 0 square feet
Year to date net absorption: -90,415 square feet
Number of hotels: 99
Number of rooms: 6,272
Under construction: 2 (219 rooms)
In planning phases: 3 (867 rooms)
Source: Atlas Hospitality Group
Inventory: 55,939 units
Vacancy rate: 4.9%
Average asking rent (per unit): $1,797
Under construction (units): 1,046
Year to date delivered (units): 80
Year to date absorption (units): 38