The Atlantic Theater as it stands today. Photo by Sarah Bennett

North Long Beach kicks off what 9th District Councilmember Steve Neal is calling the “Uptown Renaissance” this Saturday with the demolition of the historic Atlantic Theater, which marks the beginning of construction of the new North Neighborhood Library. 

The library is the latest in a string of projects–including the completed Fire Station 12 and the proposed new Houghton Park Commuity Center–that Neal says have been reinvigorating community and pride in a part of the city traditionally seen as underserved. 

“This development effort marks a pivotal step in the Uptown Renaissance movement,” said Neal in a statement. “An effort of such magnitude is sure to bring more vitality to the neighborhood and help generate more business in the area.”

Following the tear-down of the 74-year-old structure, Neal is hosting a free Uptown Renaissance Festival, which will feature live entertainment, informational exhibits and food on the site of what is anticipated to be the future civic center for Uptown

“This festival is a celebration of all the great stuff going on in North Long Beach,” said Neal. 

Renderings of the new North Long Beach Library show the incorporation of the Atlantic Theater’s iconic tower.

Built in the Art Deco style and originally opened in 1941, the Atlantic Theater operated as a venue for more than 40 years before it was adapted and reused for various purposes, most recently as a church and a discount furniture store–before being declared unsafe and shuttering completely. In 2010, the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency voted to tear it down.

uptownrenaissanceThe new North Long Beach library will be a 25,000-square-foot facility that is expected to anchor the planned North Village Center. According to renderings, it will feature artistic glass walls and green foliage as well as a community center and pedestrian courtyard. The architecture incorporates the theater’s iconic tower into its design. 

“This transformation has been a long time coming,” Neal said. “My office has worked with the community, the city, and fellow leaders and we are finally seeing results. It’s an exciting time.”

The Atlantic Theater teardown begins at 10AM on Saturday, January 25, at 5870 Atlantic Ave. The Uptown Renaissance Festival with live entertainment, food and exhibits will follow.

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