New renderings reveal 218-unit development in Downtown, set to face Planning Commission this week

Set to face the Long Beach Planning Commission this week, fresh renderings have been revealed for an eight-story mixed-use building to be developed on a lot at the southwest corner of Broadway and Long Beach Boulevard, just east of the historic Psychic Temple building.

Developed by Raintree Partners and designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Carrier Johnson + Culture, the Aster Project will have two below-ground parking levels with two additional floors of parking above ground, providing 312 spots, along with 44 bike parking spaces and 7,292 square feet of retail space along the ground floor. While it is planned to relatively follow the same height path of the south side of Broadway from the Promenade eastward, it will be dwarfed by the buildings surrounding it to the north and east, especially given the upcoming developments outlined below.

In addition, 218 residential units will be constructed: 32 studio units, ranging from 470 to 525 square feet; 123 one-bedroom units ranging from 610 to 1,000 square feet; 61 two-bedroom units ranging from 885 to 1,335 square feet; and two three-bedroom units at 1,435 and 1,700 square feet.

As of now, there are no affordable units attached to the complex—another missed opportunity without a citywide inclusionary ordinance in an otherwise unwieldy housing market. In fact, when the Downtown Plan was originally being drafted, then-9th District Councilmember Steve Neal fought for an inclusionary ordinance but was ultimately shot down; had it have been included, millions of dollars or several new affordable units would exist in Downtown. As of this piece, the City is out to bid on for a group that will look into studying how an inclusionary ordinance could be adopted.

Of particular note in design, the building wraps around the the east and southern edges of the Psychic Temple building, practically encasing it while also towering above its three stories and creating a sense of density from the street level.

This is one of a multitude of projects in the immediate area, the most prominent being the $195 million Broadway Block project that could take up the eastern edge of Long Beach Boulevard between Broadway and Third Street (right next to the very uninspiring lofts being built at the northwest corner of Broadway and Elm).

The massive project includes a 295-foot, 21-story high rise that will bring 187 new units to Downtown along with a seven-story mid-rise that will include 205 new residential units.

In this space also sits the revered-but-shuttered Acres of Books, which developer Cliff Ratkovich of Ratkovich Properties said would not only be adaptively reused for the project but also brought into the project “to create a one-of-a-kind culture and spirit.” Ratkovich boasts that the adaptive reuse of Acres of Books will prove to be the “first of its kind in DTLB.”

The Aster Project is at 125 Long Beach Blvd.

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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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 19 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.