Molina Healthcare Signs 11-Year Lease for Downtown Millworks Development

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The under-construction Millworks building on Pine Ave. Photos by Sarah Bennett

After becoming the first project to be approved in coordination with Long Beach’s new Downtown Plan requirements, the historic Meeker-Baker and Press-Telegram buildings at 6th Street and Pine Avenue will officially be home to Molina Healthcare for at least the next eleven years according to a lease signed February 28.

The development, managed by John and Michelle Molina’s own Millworks development company, will span the length of Pine between 6th and 7th Streets with some 127,000-square-feet of office space in the Meeker-Baker and 73,000-square feet in the Press-Telegram. The new healthcare center will also bring in some 1,000 jobs as well as invigorate the northern stretch of Pine.

The Downtown Plan’s requirements create an overall vision for Pine that permits developers to continue forward with contemporary developments while maintaining the historical integrity of significant buildings–in this case, both.

“Preservation and sustainability are major priorities in this project,” said Michelle Molina in a press release. “We respect the history of Downtown Long Beach and want to protect its future. Therefore, it was our objective to preserve the design aesthetic of the structures and incorporate the local arts community while reducing our carbon footprint by reusing demolished concrete and original bricks, promoting bike-friendliness, and focusing on the wellness of building occupants.”

IMG 1398The Meeker-Baker Building at 650 Pine was constructed in 1924 and is characterized by its Renaissance-style that was popular in Long Beach during the 20s. The building is known for its decorative brick and tile work, topped with arched openings and medallions. The new development will retain about 3,000-square-foot of the original building, with new office space set back from the building’s facade facing 7th and Pine.

The Press-Telegram Building located at 604 Pine was also constructed in 1924 by notable Long Beach architect W. Horace Austin. The four story building was the result of the merging of the then-Long Beach Press and Long Beach Telegram papers to deal with competition. Characterized by an abstracted Italian Renaissance look with wide brick piers of symmetrical bays, each divided vertically by a trio of narrow pilasters topped by capitols under a dentil moulding.

The space was slated to be built into lofts–in which the Molinas were invested–back in 2005. However, following a downturn in residential development, the project was abandoned in 2007.

The Press-Telegram renovation is slated for completion this summer and the Meeker-Baker development is expected to be finished in Fall 2014.

“We’re thrilled to solidify this relationship with Molina Healthcare,” continued Molina. “Both Millworks and Molina are committed to investing in the city of Long Beach and look forward to bringing more jobs, shoppers, and residents to the Downtown.”

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 19 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.