Long Beach in 2023 continued a years-long run of big developments being approved and announced that could dramatically change the way the city looks in the decades to come.

Downtown continues to see the bulk of the new housing production with developments like the 271-unit Third and Pacific project, the 189-unit Inkwell building on the Promenade and the 756-unit West Gateway project under construction.

The area also saw the opening of the 432-unit Onni East Village project this summer, which was built at “Broadway Block” that previously featured the Acres of Books building.

Outside residential developments Downtown, there were several projects approved that will affect neighborhoods by adding about 1,300 new housing units to Southeast Long Beach and introducing a new signature hotel project in the Downtown core.

Here are seven projects that could change the future of Long Beach:

The Mosaic

In January, the city’s Planning Commission approved a massive 900-unit housing project that will knock down a portion of the former City Place mall to make room for three new eight-story apartment buildings.

The project is expected to be built on the two northernmost blocks of the City Place center including the former Walmart building that has sat vacant since 2016.

A rendering of the forthcoming Mosaic development that looks onto the intersection of Fifth Street and the Promenade North. The team behind the project hopes to turn the Promenade into a pedestrian-only zone that extends north to Sixth Street. Courtesy of Turnbridge Equities and Waterford Property Company.

It will provide mostly market-rate units — 56 of which will be set aside for low-income renters — but the sheer number of units could help the city meet its housing goals, which call for Long Beach to make room for over 26,500 units by 2029.

The Mosaic project proposes to add not only housing but some retail as well. Injecting more residents into Downtown, something city officials say is partly to blame for struggling businesses and public safety issues, could help revive the area that has lacked activity since the COVID-19 pandemic.

2nd and PCH

Downtown isn’t the only part of the city that is slated for several large projects. Four years after the 2ND & PCH shopping center opened, developers are now targeting the area for nearly 1,300 units spread across three nearby projects.

The largest is the 600 units proposed by developer Onni, which also built the Broadway Block project that opened over the summer. This development would be built just south of 2ND & PCH at the site of the Marina Shores retail center, which currently has a vacant Whole Foods, which relocated and is now an anchor store at 2ND & PCH.

An overhead rendering of the 600-unit housing development proposed by Onni Group at the current Marina Shore shopping center. This view shows the proposed development from Marina Drive.

Just across Studebaker Road from the Onni project, the Holland Partner Group has proposed a six-story, 281-unit project that would replace the current Congressional Place office building.

Across PCH from both the Onni and Holland Partner proposals is a 390-unit, six-story proposal that would require the removal of some existing office buildings to make way for the new apartments.

A digital rendering shows a gleaming building on the corner of two streets.
A rendering showing the proposed 281-unit housing development at 6700 Pacific Coast Highway. The rendering shows the building from the corner of Studebaker Road and Marina Drive. Rendering courtesy of the city of Long Beach.

The three projects have faced pushback from environmental groups who say the new housing, and the traffic from thousands of new residents, will be a detriment to the adjacent wetlands and the wildlife that lives there. However, those appeals have so far fallen short and the projects appear to be moving forward.

Traffic congestion is already an issue in the area and was made worse by the addition of 2ND & PCH. The construction of these three projects would overhaul what visitors first see when entering the city from Seal Beach, but that new view could include a lot of red taillights.

Hard Rock Hotel

A vacant lot at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue that had been eyed as the home of a future Downtown hotel could finally get one as soon as 2027. City officials announced in early November that the corner would soon be home to a Hard Rock-branded hotel, which would stand 30 stories tall and have 429 guest rooms.

The plans were previously approved by the city’s Planning Commission in 2019 but the pandemic and other economic factors stalled the project until now.

A rendering of the future Hard Rock Hotel in Downtown Long Beach. Courtesy of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Getting the hotel built won’t be cheap for the developer or the city, which is foregoing $28 million in tax revenue to help the project along.

The hotel is proposed to be built on top of the historic Jergins Tunnel that used to allow beachgoers access to the shore by passing under Ocean Boulevard. The tunnel, which recently became the focus of a pop song, is expected to be converted into a speakeasy once the hotel is operational.

Shoemaker Bridge

The Shoemaker Bridge project is one of dozens of Public Works projects the city hopes to complete before the 2028 Olympics, and if it’s completed, it will change how people enter and exit Downtown Long Beach.

The city is hoping to replace the aging bridge, which serves as a conduit for traffic leaving or entering the 710 Freeway, with a new $900 million bridge that would include a roundabout to circulate traffic onto and off the bridge.

A rendering showing the proposed roundabout that would connect Shoreline Drive and Seventh Street to the proposed Shoemaker Bridge replacement project. Photo courtesy the city of Long Beach.

It’s more than a bridge project, though. It’s also a park project because a big element of the new bridge would remove lanes of traffic that currently separate Cesar Chavez Park from a patch of open space that is currently unusable because of the current configuration of the off-ramps and on-ramps coming from the 710 into Downtown.

Removing the northbound lanes and condensing them into one Downtown exit along Shoreline Drive will add about 5.6 acres of park space, according to the city. City officials hope to begin work on the realignment of Shoreline Drive first as it seeks the nearly $1 billion it needs to build the bridge from the state and federal governments.

Belmont Pool

The Belmont Pool replacement project was originally more grand — and expensive — but the City Council approved a scaled-down version earlier this year, one that the city hopes to start building by 2025.

It no longer has a translucent dome or even seats, but it’s what the city could realistically afford given the uncertain future of oil revenues, which it’s using to fund the project.

A rendering of a pool on a beachfront.
The latest proposal for the years-in-the-making Belmont pool project would include a 50-meter outdoor pool with diving springboards, zip lines and climbing walls; an instructional pool for swim lessons and laps; and a recreational pool with play features for kids. Courtesy of the city of Long Beach.

Long Beach’s entire city budget, not just the one for the pool, could be upended by the statewide oil production setback law if it goes into effect next year. The law is on the ballot in 2024, and if voters approve it, new oil wells couldn’t be drilled within 3,200 feet of sensitive areas like schools, hospitals and homes.

The city has estimated the law could shrink Long Beach’s municipal budget by about $20 million per year. The city plans to phase out oil production by 2035, but in the meantime, it relies on it as a source of revenue.

The new pool project is expected to cost around $74.2 million with an additional $3.7 million needed to potentially add seats and shade structures in the future. The domed version would have cost about $145 million, and the 2021 version of the project was expected to cost $119 million.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.