Planning Commission Studies Proposed Mixed-Use Housing Project at Acres of Books Site

broadway block

Broadway Block project at 200-250 Long Beach Boulevard. Click here to view more renderings.

The Long Beach Planning Commission held a study session Thursday night to examine the proposed mega-development that has become known as the Broadway Block which could potentially put hundreds of apartments and an open-air market on the parcel that currently holds Acres of Books.

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The Broadway Block, as proposed, would consist of a 21-story residential building with 187 units, a seven-story residential building with 205 units and a reconstruction of the historic Acres of Books site repurposed to serve as a market place reminiscent of Los Angeles’s Grand Central Market. It would compose the western half of the block between Broadway and Third Street between Long Beach Boulevard and Elm Avenue.

A total of 585 parking spaces are currently projected to accompany the development with two of those levels of parking being below ground. Despite that, the project is likely to draw challenges from neighborhood groups that have taken issue with nearly every new development in the Downtown area over parking and congestion concerns.

The study session was a preliminary hearing with the project still facing a number of public hearings before any kind of vote will take place to approve it. One of those hearings will be with the Cultural Heritage Commission which oversees the Acres of Books building, a cultural heritage landmark since 1990, and another hearing will discuss an adjacent alleyway which will be forfeited to tie together the Broadway Block project.

“It’s really a wonderful opportunity to take the Acres of Books building and give it new life,” said project architect Rob Quigley.


 

Thursday’s hearing served as an initial opportunity for commissioners to make suggestions or raise concerns about the project but in the roughly one-hour study session very few issues were raised by commissioners.

Commissioner Jane Templin commented on the plain appearance of the smaller residential structure remarking that the city has enough “dull walls” and that she hoped one of the points of the project was to make the city more interesting.

Other commissioners raised questions about whether the units would be rentable apartments or condos—they’re currently scheduled to be rented units—and one raised the issue of pedestrian safety due to the likelihood that college students will be in the area late at night and the project appears to have some tight quarters.

The previously announced CSULB Village, which will be located a few blocks to the north of Broadway Block, is an extension of the project and the Broadway Block is also projected to include some affordable housing units for CSULB students.



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