The Long Beach Planning Commission will decide whether to let developers move forward with a two-structure complex on the northeast corner of Pacific Avenue and Third Street come Thursday, September 19.
The project, headed by Ensemble, will look to create two pieces of mixed-use development: a 23-story tower which and an accompanying eight-story building which, combined, will create 345 residential units, 14,481 square feet of retail space, 563 parking spaces, and 128 bicycle parking spaces.
Ensemble is no stranger to the development game in Long Beach, with its Sonata development on Seaside Way almost complete and its sister Seaside project, Serenade, ready for tenants.
For now dubbed 3rd+Pacific, it is unquestionably company’s largest project, which has undergone alterations over the past few years after the lot at 113 W. Third St. was sold to the development group after the state dictated that all municipalities sell their redevelopment lots. The tallest building was originally proposed as a 21-story high rise while the smaller building was originally proposed as a six-story building and then as a seven-story structure. Also, 370 residential units were being proposed initially.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the project includes the vacation of the paseo between the buildings, what we now know as the alley that is West Roble Way. It will be cleared and turned into a complete street, with new lighting, pedestrian amenities, and what developers are hoping will become a food-centric space for both residents and visitors.
There must be a mention, however, of the benefit being handed to the developers of these massive projects—which have been sitting on the shelves for years—suddenly seeking entitlement: The city’s impending inclusionary ordinance, essential for easing affordability throughout the city, has yet to be approved, meaning each project entitled before the ordinance have no obligation to its requirements. This is likely to lead to further concerns about gentrification, displacement, and a lack of community involvement has led to a sense of disconnection in terms of long-term residents and developers.
Despite a boom in housing development—much needed given the housing crisis—many feel that the development isn’t for them. Add onto this the fact that Class C apartments, home to units which are often the only ones many can afford, are being snatched up by real estate investment firms, you have factors that lead to displacement and lack of affordability that falls disproportionately on our most marginalized populations.
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