Renovation plans move forward for historic Breakers building

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously affirmed approval of renovations for the Breakers, giving a green light for the historic building’s transformation into a 185-room boutique hotel.

The project by community-investment partnership Pacific6 will restore the 14-story building on Ocean Boulevard back to its original use as a hotel. It will feature a jazz club, rooftop terrace, spa, swimming pool and other amenities that will serve both visitors and locals. 

While the Planning Commission had already approved the project, the plan came back to the City Council for review on Tuesday following appeals from resident David Denevan, who expressed concern over preserving nearby Victory Park, and two labor union advocates who said they were worried about the environmental impact from noise and traffic.

Denevan, a landscaper for more than 50 years, said he’s not opposed to turning the Breakers into a four-star hotel, but he’s concerned about the loss of grassy public space in the city’s historic Victory Park, which stretches along Ocean Boulevard.

“That lawn has been there since at least 1926,” he said. “It’s grandfathered in.”

Speaking before the council, Pacific6 partner John Molina said the park will be redesigned with drought tolerant landscaping, public signage and drinking fountains. The city will not lose any dedicated park space, he added.

Molina said the $85 million project will bring 200 jobs to the city, some of which could be union jobs as he continues to negotiate with the labor union Unite Here Local 11.

Molina said he has reached out to local neighborhood groups for possible noise concerns and has received positive feedback.

“We want to make sure that we’re good neighbors,” he said.

The Breakers was built in 1926 as a private resort and was acquired by Conrad Hilton in 1938. It served as a playground for Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Rita Hayworth before it fell into disrepair and eventually became an assisted living home for seniors.

The senior citizen living space closed after allegations of abuse in 2015.

Molina said he plans to restore the building to its former glory as a Long Beach landmark.

“Our goal is to bring back an iconic building in the city and make it useful,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed next year.

Editor’s note: Pacific6 is the parent company of the Long Beach Post.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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