Long Beach could pay $21M for Downtown building to use as crime lab, senior center

Long Beach could purchase a vacant Downtown building owned by Southern California Edison as part of a $44.4 million project that would create a new police crime lab, senior center and office space for city employees.

Edison owns the building located at the corner of First Street and Elm Avenue, which the city had previously entertained as a potential site for Los Angeles Angels headquarters if the team had moved to Long Beach instead of staying in Anaheim. Now the city could buy it from Edison for $21 million if the City Council approves the deal.

The purchase is being made in part to build a new crime lab for the Long Beach Police Department, which has a facility in West Long Beach that the city says is now “inadequate” and is under lease until April 2026.

Also slated to join the LBPD crime lab at the proposed project would be a new senior center on the first floor and office space for some of the city’s Energy Resources Department staff as well as the crime lab on the third and fourth floors.

The senior center would have multiple multi-purpose rooms, a meeting room, a small restaurant and office space for city Health Department employees who provide services to the seniors.

The five-story building has about 500 parking spaces built into the structure.

A recently passed budget identified $4 million for improvements to the senior center and $800,000 toward the cost of designing and permitting a new crime lab.

It’s estimated that about $23.4 million in renovations would need to be made to the facility with the the LBPD, Energy Resources and the Parks, Recreation and Marine Department, which oversees the current senior center on Fourth Street, splitting the cost.

According to a city memo, Energy Resources has its share of the purchase and renovations ($12.2 million) available, but the city could have to issue bonds to finance about $19.6 million of the share that the police and parks departments would be responsible for.

The memo says the debt service on the bonds could be $1.1 million per year, which the city says could be paid for with savings from not paying the ongoing crime lab lease ($670,000 annually) and about $500,000 in other budgetary savings.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.