With $84 million North Long Beach warehouse project, North Long Beach continues its ‘renaissance’

Construction of a massive, 415,592-square-foot warehouse is set to move forward at the southwest corner of Artesia and Paramount boulevards and will be named Bridge Point.

The $84 million project, designed by Herdman Architecture and led by Bridge Development Partners, will not only bring in 500 permanent jobs according to Councilmember Rex Richardson, but also decommission a site that was originally a petroleum refinery when it was activated in the 1930s. It has since served as an asphalt manufacturer.

Bridge Point Long Beach, on top of the roughly 390,000 square feet warehouse space that will join existing warehouse businesses in the area like the Toyota manufacturing warehouse to the south, will also create 21,000 square feet of new office space.

According to Richardson’s office, the project will include “high-end architectural design and finishes, such as concrete panels in varying hues of gray and reflective blue-glazed glass, and sustainable features such as a solar-ready roof and more than 100 parking stalls with electric vehicle (EV) chargers or EV-ready infrastructure,” of which contribute to what Richardson dubs North Long Beach’s “renaissance.”

Richardson also stated that the clean-up required on the site due to its previous use deterred many developers from taking on the industrial space.

“We found a developer who would invest in the clean-up and repositioning of the site—no easy feat but a great one considering how many in the Ninth District wanted to clear the parcel from blight,” Richardson said. “It’s one of the largest of its kind in development in the entire county.”

Even more, it represents a “departure from oil and a double-down on goods movement,” Richardson said.

On top of the $84 million investment in the structure itself, Bridge Development will put $250,000 into local community projects for the northside that range from arts projects to civic engagement initiatives, which has led Richardson to enthusiastically support the project.

“This type of multi-million-dollar plan from a nationally recognized firm like Bridge Development Partners is the kind of investment that not only will dramatically improve the site of an outdated and blighted oil refinery but will serve as an important catalyst for future growth,” stated Richardson.

That “future growth” is one that has been championed by Richardson, who has been one of the most pro-development councilmembers to serve the 9th District. Under his tutelage, North Long Beach is beginning to see an influx of investment and development, especially along the district’s Atlantic corridor.

Once a bustling stretch of businesses, restaurants, and social spaces, Atlantic Avenue fell into dilapidation over the decades as investment evaporated and SoCal urban design revolved around the almighty car.

In a piece several years ago about the Atlantic corridor, architectural critic Christopher Hawthorne noted that “we became so enamored of the speed and freedom offered by frictionless driving that we overreached. We allowed traffic engineers to reshape our boulevards to make them as much like freeways as possible: adding lanes, raising speed limits and otherwise giving motorists priority over everyone else.”

This became the tale of Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach—but that is shifting.

While the Bixby Knolls stretch of the road has remained quaint and charming with a decent cluster of businesses, North Long Beach has had to work twice as hard with approaching revitalization: Larger parcels of land, longer stretches of road, and a complex history that includes white flight and racial segregation have made it difficult for the northernmost part of the city to see the type of investment that is happening in Downtown.

But the residents of the 9th, always a proud, community-centric group of people, don’t want a Downtown—and they don’t want a suburb. They want a space to call their own. Encouraging Richardson to work by their side with developers rather than just with developers in a silo, citizens and Richardson have championed what they feel are the things the community wants and needs for the long-term.

That “long-term” part is important for Richardson, what he calls “legacy stuff.”

“Since taking office, we have worked to create a new vision for North Long Beach, centered on dignity and quality of life of   North Long Beach residents and small businesses,” Richardson told the Post last year. “[We can establish] a roadmap to ensure the future of North Long Beach is prosperous, healthy, and thriving.”

That roadmap has included Shaheen Sadeghi, the man who created the Anti-Mall as he eyes northern land parcels in the hopes that the test of his contemporary space-making skills will be as good in the new millennium as they were in the 1990s. North Long Beach saw its first independent coffee shop, Black Ring Coffee, open in 2017. It is watching the development of two food- and social-centric developments—the Uptown and the Uptown Commons—bring in local brands like the Long Beach Beer Lab and distinctly unique food like Filipino fusion.

“Over the last several years, it’s been exciting to see the renaissance in North Long Beach take place, and we want to ensure we continue to get the investment and attention we need for long-term economic prosperity,” Richardson said.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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