By Eric Gray | Downtown Long Beach continued its renaissance through 2014 with a string of achievements that have set the stage for future success in 2015. Here is a list of many developments that have occurred this year in Downtown:
1. Groundbreakings occurred on four new residential properties: Parc Broadway, the Current, 6th Street Lofts, and Edison Lofts. These residential properties will give more choices to residents looking to experience the cosmopolitan and urban lifestyle Downtown Long Beach has to offer.
2. The long awaited Pine Avenue Improvement Project began in 2014. When complete, Pine Avenue from Shoreline Drive to Anaheim will have new pedestrian lights, trees, street furniture, bollards, street pavement, crosswalks, and fixed sidewalks.
3. New businesses have opened their doors across Downtown including BO-beau kitchen + roof tap, The Breakfast Bar, Toxic Toast Records, The “B” Room, Brushstrokes and Beverages, CrossFit Intersect, and MADE in Long Beach. M2 Fitness is set to reopen the first week of January at a new location on Pine Avenue and Third Street.
4. The Pike has started its transformation into the “The Outlets at The Pike.” To date, Long Beach has landed two large retail brands, Restoration Hardware and H&M. More stores are to be announced in 2015.
5. Long Beach Boulevard is starting to make its way into the spotlight with commercial adaptive reuse development generating spaces for local businesses set to open 2015. These businesses include Yellow 108, Heartbreak Coffee, a Beachwood BBQ tasting kitchen, and Rainbow Juices around the corner on Third Street.
6. The Brass Lamp Book Bar announced its arrival to the Promenade and is expecting to open in 2015. This will be the very first Book Bar in Downtown Long Beach.
7. The second phase of Molina Healthcare opened its doors to over 500 technology employees right on Pine Avenue and 7th street giving Downtown Long Beach another big economic boost.
8. City Council voted to move forward with the Civic Center Project and chose developer Plenary Edgemoor. This project is a public private partnership that will include new Port of Long Beach headquarters, residential development, a new library, hotel, and revitalized Lincoln Park.
9. Friends of Lincoln Park was established in 2014 by Downtown Leaders. This group is helping to bring attention to the vast needs and concerns of the park affecting nearby Downtown residents quality of life, while also addressing how to best help the large homeless population who spend time there to gain access to much needed services.
10. The Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) continued to put on signature events such as Taste of Downtown, Promenade Beer and Wine Festival, Summer and Music, and its brand new monthly musical event, Live After Five.
11. The Downtown Residential Council (DRC) established its 501C3 non-profit status and continued to put on informational forums for Downtown residents.
12. Creative incubators such as the Art Exchange(Art X), Cultural Alliance Long Beach(CALB), and WE LABS are thriving and continue to bring artistic, musical, theatrical, and business diversity to the city.
13. The East Village Association (EVA) has re-established itself putting on events, holding community meetings, and adding murals to this charming section of Downtown.
14. The Promenade Area Residents Association (PARA) is moving forward with Promenade Square Park Kids Playground to be installed in a small section of Promenade Square Park for Downtown’s growing base of new families.
15. After a year and a half moratorium on “nightclub” establishments, City Council voted to approve the new “Downtown Dining and Entertainment Ordinance.” This was debated extensively by a local taskforce of residents and business owners with input from the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the Long Beach Music Council. As a result, the new ordinance ensures that the Downtown Dining and Entertainment District is more music friendly but reduces excessive noise impacts to nearby residents and neighboring businesses.
16. The Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the Historic Pine Avenue Business Association (HOPA) have teamed up to form multiple Community Watch Groups across Downtown Long Beach.
17. Street performers are trying out their chops across Downtown.
18. Additional events took place this year seemingly everywhere in Downtown Long Beach. Some of these events include the Party on Pine Series, Folk Revival Festival, Zombie Walk, Final Fridays, Winter in Willmore, Free and Fit, Trolley Rides at Third Fridays Twilight Walk, Pink Party, Movies at the East Village Arts Park, Pitch Lab, Open Mic Nights, and many more.
19. The Metro Blue Line is undergoing a 1.2 billion dollar overhaul over six years and many metro stations in Downtown have been given façade improvements. This is the oldest rail line in Los Angeles and many stations were not built with security turnstiles. Here’s to hoping the 1.2 billion dollar overhaul will address security concerns.
20. In the spirit of fostering local entrepreneurship, MADE in Long Beach opened its doors on Pine Avenue as a holiday pop up shop with plans for long term growth. Many Long Beach brands are proudly showcased such as Romeo Chocolates, Black Ring Coffee, Joie Et Macarons, Peppered Up Foods, Masher Couture, Long Beach Jerky Company, and more.
A more vibrant city center benefits the larger Long Beach community and it’s no secret we have great neighborhoods across our city. I propose a toast to all in Long Beach who help make our city a better place to live, work, and play.
Onward, ever, upward.
People Post is an occasional column featuring readers’ commentary, articles from guest writers, and letters to the editor. To submit an article to People Post, email [email protected].
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