After unveiling sleek, contemporary renderings of proposals to upgrade the amenities of various areas along the coast of Long Beach, the Long Beach City Council formally decided to move forward on breaking ground on one of three proposed concession areas. Alamitos Beach, just south of the Villa Riviera and east of Shoreline Drive, will be the first area to have construction beginning Aug. 1 after an initial announcement stating the project would break ground in April.
After outreach meetings that began during the summer of 2016 and continued for more than a year, the Planning Commission first moved the project forward in December of 2017, with three focal points along the city’s waterfront: Alamitos, Junipero and Granada beaches.
According to a presentation initially given to the city, the new amenities will seek to make three things happen: enhance the beach experience, support existing activities and increase safety and a feeling of welcomeness—issues that were expressed by residents at outreach meetings.
The design elements of the Alamitos concession will include a “game box” that will include chess and table tennis, a play dune for children, beach rentals, a cafe, increased bike parking, additional bike share rentals, and increased security and lighting. It will involve the demolition of the existing Alfredo’s Beach Club and its attached restrooms to make way for a two-story, 4,240 square-foot building with a rooftop deck as well as a wrap-around patio.
“Before I was in office, we talked about how we could get more people down to our beaches and how could we activate them,” said 2nd District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce. “We had a lot of ideas around concession stands and I did not, at that time, believe that we would get to a place with something this spectacular.”
Pearce was one of the most vocal in seeking a clear deviation from Alfredo’s current offerings—everything from oysters to tacos—and she wasn’t alone in expressing happiness over the project. Ninth District Councilmember Rex Richardson applauded its family-centric approach by saying this “puts the playground on the beach.”
“That’s huge,” he said. “In addition to that, when families go to the beach, there’s a lot of logistics: We’re talking about having to bring the snacks, having to bring this, having to bring that. Now, I don’t have to bring those things for my own family.”
The Alamitos Beach area is expected to cost $9 million, paid for via Tidelands funds. (Tidelands funds are solely designated for the space at marinas, beaches and waterways, including the Convention Center, the Queen Mary and adjacent properties such as the Aquarium of the Pacific and Rainbow Harbor.)
Initial estimates put the cost for the renovations at Alamitos Beach at $4.7 million, along with an additional $1.7 million approved by the city for beach playgrounds, recreational amenities and other areas of high use.
Assistant City Manager Tom Modica called the Alamitos Beach concession “the mothership of the other concessions” that will assure no two concession areas look the same despite being smaller. The other two areas, however, are expected to have larger playgrounds. Modica hopes each is filled with local businesses and have fair pricing. On that latter point, Modica discussed looking into “street pricing” so that people aren’t paying $15 for a food item that should cost $8.
The Junipero concession proposal seeks to activate more than the areas surrounding the current restrooms: basketball courts—a full and half-court—and fitness area are set to be built on the northwestern area of the concession while a massive, net-constructed play zone will accompany a cafe and rentals on the southeast side.
The Granda concession proposal seeks an alteration of its current six volleyball courts, of which two rows of three courts sit west-to-east just west of the restrooms. That will be reconfigured to three rows of two courts, allowing for an expanded play area, cafe and vendor spots.
According to Modica, the concession areas are expected to open by the summer of 2020.
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