A rendering of townhomes from developers Brandywine Homes proposed to be built on a vacant lot in front of the Michelle Obama Library in North Long Beach. Rendering courtesy Branywine Homes.

The Long Beach Planning Commission this month unanimously approved construction plans for 84 townhomes and retail space at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and South Street in North Long Beach.

A group of developers from Brandywine Homes and the LAB Holding is hoping to break ground for the mixed residential and commercial use project, called Rhythm Long Beach, in a vacant 3.2-acre lot in front of the Michelle Obama Library in March or April.

The buildings are designed to be three stories tall with 27 two-bedroom units and 57 three- to four-bedroom units with a two-car garage for each unit.

Alongside the residential homes, the project will also create 3,000 square feet of commercial space that will include a restaurant on the second floor with an outdoor patio near the Atlantic Avenue and South Street intersection as well as space for a coffee shop.

Developers hope the project will address the growing need for housing and create room for commercial growth on Atlantic Avenue.

Shaheen Sadeghi, chief operating officer at LAB Holding, said they assisted Brandywine Homes with the project in order to help reactivate business along the Atlantic Avenue corridor between the 8th and 9th Council Districts that make up North Long Beach.

“This project is the beginning and the catalyst for revitalizing the corridor in the area,” Sadeghi said.

The 84 townhomes are expected to be priced at “market rate” value compared to other homes in the area, according to planning documents.

While the project mostly received comments in support, two public comments emailed to the planning commissioners expressed concerns with the development, particularly regarding  parking.

The comments opposing the project said parking for residents already living near the construction site is already limited and bringing more units with a garage for only two cars would lead to more congestion.

Sergio Gutierrez, a project planner with Long Beach, estimated that parking would be slightly reduced on Atlantic and Linden avenues. He added that 19 spaces for parking would be included in the project.

Preliminary drafts of the project design showed narrow sidewalks and diagonal parking on Atlantic Avenue. However, that design was removed to include full-width sidewalks, parallel parking on the right-of-way the front of the project, and curb extensions at the intersections that extend the sidewalk area and shorten pedestrian crossing distances.

As proposed, the project also calls for crews to clean up contaminated soil located at the southern end of the site. The vacant land was previously used as a gas station and a dry cleaners.

Brandywine Homes’ developers leading the project’s construction said the soil remediation is expected to be completed next year in March or April.

Brian Geis, vice president of development for Brandywine Homes, said the construction of the 84 townhomes will be phased in with crews expected to “move dirt” sometime in March or sooner.