Historic Fire Station 9 in Los Cerritos is one step closer to becoming an extension of the popular Gemmae Bake Shop, which is set to buy the property from the city of Long Beach for $750,000.

The City Council signed off on an offer Tuesday that will begin a 60-day escrow window for the bakery’s parent company, Tolentino Properties, LLC, to examine the property and see if it can be converted into a production bakery and restaurant.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate use,” said Councilmember Megan Kerr.

The popular Westside bakery that specializes in Filipino treats emerged in 2023 as a potential buyer for the Fire Station 9 property, which has sat vacant for years as the city works to build a new station nearby.

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The Tolentino family, which owns Gemmae Bake Shop, offered $750,000 for the property despite the city listing the property for $445,000. City Council members and staff did not say what may have caused the family to offer more money.

Fire Station 9 was closed in 2019 after the city said recurring mold caused by leaks made it unsafe for the fire personnel who lived and worked there.

The closure split the station’s personnel among different stations at first but eventually, the city leased a building near the intersection of Wardlow Road and Cherry Avenue where Station 9’s personnel have operated over the past few years.

Last week, the council approved a construction contract for a new Fire Station 9 that will be a few blocks north of the old station, but it likely won’t be completed until 2027, according to city officials.

Pepper steak and rice at the Filipino bake shop, Gemmae Bake Shop, which opened in 1993 in Long Beach’s westside, has served the community for 25 years in Long Beach July 20, 2018. Photo by Thomas R Cordova

Long Beach had been trying to offload the historic Fire Station 9 property at 3917 Long Beach Blvd. since late 2021, but the city said it initially received zero bids from any prospective buyers.

Last month, the City Council voted to declare the exterior of the fire station as historic, but elements inside the station were not afforded the same protections. Instead, the council simply requested whoever buys the building to preserve things like the wooden truss ceiling in the station’s garage and built-in cabinets and fireplace if it’s feasible.

During the 60-day escrow, the Tolentino family will determine if any of the interior elements can be saved while still making space for a bakery. If any changes are made to the interior of the property the council’s vote requires photographs to be taken beforehand to preserve a record of how they looked.

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