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A learning and working center for business owners and entrepreneurs will be created downtown after the Long Beach City Council approved its creation during a council meeting Tuesday.

The approved lease agreement formalizes a partnership between the city, Long Beach City College and BlankSpaces to revitalize 309 Pine Avenue into a shared working environment and entrepreneurial innovation center, according to a city release.

“This is the most recent example of how we are building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the City of Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Our goal is to leverage City assets in new and innovative ways to create economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs.”

The city will invest $250,000 in improvements to the property, which is currently occupied by LBCC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The college will provide educational resources like business advising, international accelerator programs, workshops and access to capital to support the city’s existing and emerging entrepreneurs and other programs to grow the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. BlankSpaces will design and develop the property as a shared working space, manage day-to-day operations and rent working spaces to local entrepreneurs.

Some of the money generated from activities in the center will reimburse the city for its initial investment.

The partnership came about when the city called for proposals in July 2016 to leverage public-private partnerships and maximize city-owned assets to increase the number of businesses in Long Beach. LBCC submitted the winning proposal which included a partnership with BlankSpaces, a private company, at the site.

The center is expected to be named the Shaun Lumachi Innovation Center after the late businessman and Long Beach Post co-founder and publisher Shaun Lumachi.

The council voted November 14 to request that the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee consider renaming the SBDC as such. 

A groundbreaking for the center is set for January with a goal to have the hub fully operational by this upcoming spring.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.