Earlier this month, Mayor Rex Richardson officially declared that the city would open a temporary amphitheater near the Queen Mary to host more musical acts. Now, city staff is working to figure out exactly how to make that happen.
On Thursday, staff sat down with a consultant for the first time to discuss the cost and scope of a feasibility study to determine if and how the city can erect the amphitheater similar to the now-defunct FivePoint in Irvine, according to Economic Development Director Bo Martinez.
“It’s very preliminary at this point,” Martinez repeated several times during an interview Thursday.
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While the details have not been finalized, Martinez said the study will look at everything: cost, operational models, potential financial outcomes and even location, which has yet to be selected.
In an email to the Post following the mayor’s announcement, Linda Scholl and Linda Spery, both Downtown residents, said the noise from the various music festivals that take place on Pier H disturb those living across Queensway Bay.
“Multiple residents have appealed to the City Council about this,” Scholl wrote, adding that they have taken noise measurements and have a petition with over 100 signatures. “But it now falls on closed City Council and mayoral ears.”
“We all like music. We’re glad they may have a music event site at the QM,” she continued. We are not expecting a totally quiet environment. But we expect to live in relative peace in our homes.”
Martinez said the feasibility study will address community concerns, including noise pollution, traffic and parking.
“I live in Downtown and when you live in a mixed-use urban environment, you have to understand that there’s going to be special events, there’s going to be entertainment,” Martinez said, noting that it can be an inconvenience at times. “That’s part of having a dynamic and cool and vibrant Downtown. That’s the secret sauce.”
Martinez acknowledged that ingress and egress from Pier H as well as parking are challenges with impacts that could bleed into the Downtown core. He said the study will look at various modes of transportation to ease the issues.
One thing the feasibility study will not address is the potential for a permanent amphitheater adjacent to the Queen Mary, which remains the long-term plan, Martinez said. That effort will require a second study down the line, he said.
During his State of the City address, Mayor Richardson said “music is coming back to Long Beach sooner than we think” and announced a 2025 opening for the amphitheater. Martinez said he hopes staff can meet that goal.
The price tag for the study has not yet been determined, but it will cost the city at least $75,000 out of the Queen Mary fund, Martinez said. The study should be given to the city around July, he added, with another 60 to 90 days for staff to prepare a presentation for the City Council.
“We’re going to be very methodical about it,” Martinez said. “And we’re going to make sure that as we go through the process that it’s going to be a big community asset as well. I think we’re on to something special here”