The revamped and repurposed Ocean Center Building at 110 W. Ocean Blvd. is open for business now, with new residents beginning to trickle into the new units, most with views ranging from spectacular in the loftier apartments in the 14-story building, to pretty good in those closer to Earth and the thrum of the boulevard and the convention, dining and entertainment activities of Downtown.
After purchasing the building on the southwest corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue in the spring of 2018 for $18 million, the John Molina-led Pacific6 Enterprises embarked on a $50 million renovation and restoration of the historic building, converting its offices into 80 boutique apartments.
The Ocean Center Apartments’ new website is online today, with displays of the many assorted floor plans and their prices as well as the history of the building that was constructed in 1929 at the most significant crossroads of the city.
Living in the building, certainly one of the few most magnificent structures in Long Beach, is to live in history. It rose as a key part of an incredible burst of construction that changed the face of the city in the 1920s.
In that decade, the waterfront and Downtown saw the construction of the Sovereign Apartments and Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1923, with its 10-story office tower added in 1925; the Kress Building in 1923; the Cooper Arms, Middoughs’ Boys and Men’s Shops (now the Insurance Exchange), the Willmore and the Security Pacific Building in 1924; the Breakers in 1925; with things wrapping up for the decade with the Ocean Center Building, the Villa Riviera and Walker’s Department Store all built in 1929.
The 14-story, 197-foot-tall Ocean Center Building was once part of the Pike Amusement Zone and its famous “Walk of a Thousand Lights.” It formerly held about 200 office suites, which were demolished by the building’s previous owner, though much of the trappings of the building remain in the new apartment complex.
“We’ve preserved a lot of the building,” said Molina. “We’ve kept much of the wood interiors, the transom windows, the doors. It’s one of my favorite Long Beach buildings.”
In addition to preserving much of the handsome wood in the building and its apartments, the entryway beneath the ornamental plaster is original marble, and the 1929 terrazzo flooring continues to run along hallways. The building also retains ornate elevators and stairs with wrought iron railings.
To drive home its history, large black-and-white photos of old Long Beach encased in glass line the ground floor and elsewhere.
“Very few units have the same floor plan as any of the others,” said Joe Goff, the building’s community manager who also owns one of the building’s one-bedroom apartments, giving him possibly the easiest commute in the city.
While the old building was divided into some 200 staid, fairly dark offices for attorneys, bankers and other business people, the units now are bright and open with modern touches.
Goff showed us a few of the apartments of various sizes, including the two-bed, 2.5-bath,12th-floor penthouse, the jewel of the Ocean Center, priced at $14,000 per month. Through its windows, which include the portholes at the building’s peak, you get 360-degree views that take in the sea, the city and beyond.
A bit more affordable is the building’s second penthouse which goes for half the price at just $7,000 a month.
The balance of the 80 rooms in the Ocean Center Apartments are studios, with monthly rents starting at $3,150; one-bedroom units between $3,450 and $5,150; and two-bedrooms ranging from $5,140 to $7,890. The units include new stainless GE appliances and air-conditioning.
Buildingwide amenities include one parking spot for each unit, three community rooftop terraces, including one with two gas grills, and a private workout room.
Still pending are ground-floor retail establishments.
Editor’s note: Pacific6 Enterprises is also the parent company of the Long Beach Post. It is not involved in editorial decisions.
This post was also updated to clarify that the Ocean Center Building was purchased in the spring of 2018 for $18 million, not $38 million.