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Photo by Brian Addison. Renderings courtesy of Lennar.
The seven-story 216-unit OceanAire development, being headed by Lennar, is taking shape as construction continues to replace what was once a dilapidated surface lot with housing.
And, perhaps more importantly, it can be viewed as an attempt to alleviate the issues that have plagued Ocean and Pine.
Long after it was the central intersection of life within the city—some 4,000 pedestrians crossed it hourly at its peak, soon prompting the development of a tunnel in 1927 that has been shuttered for years—Ocean and Pine failed to connect Downtown to the waterfront. Since then, there have been discussions, many of them well constructed (like the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s partnership with the Urban Land Institute to address this specific question).
Renderings and blueprints surrounding the design of the project—led by architects Togawa Martin Smith, the style harkens to a mimicry of Studio One Eleven’s ubiquitous design throughout the city—reveal that the most fascinating parts are its smallest.
It is not the building’s shrunken size. (Before the housing crash hit developers, Lennar had originally planned on a 20-story building—a far more dramatic addition to our skyline but something we would have largely supported.)
It is not the so-called “Bali-inspired” water feature for residents. (Though, admittedly, seating areas that seemingly float on water sound pretty damn cool.)
What is perhaps most intriguing is the development’s concern about and attention toward Victory Park, including a fitness park with a slide in which the public can happily propel down the bluff of Ocean’s southern edge.
The disjointed “park” jumps along Ocean Boulevard in patches from Chestnut to Alamitos that resemble corporate landscaping far more than they resemble a park. Thanks to an 80-foot expansion from Ocean southward, at least one part of Victory will resemble a park complete with a stage/trellis, public art gallery, and field for hanging out.
“Amy Bodek—when she was still working with the city—was instrumental in helping this park come alive,” Ethen Thatcher of Lennar said. “She worked tirelessly on the project.”
Even more, an easement on the east edge of OceanAire and the west edge of Ocean Center connect pedestrians to Seaside Way and the Pike and vice versa (including at night thanks to the lighting), along with bike kitchen on the ground floor will be available for residents. Supplies stocked by local bike shops will provide bicyclists with easy access to need-now tools and quick fixes.
Construction is expected to be completed by August of this year.
This article originally appeared on the Long Beach Post.
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