Demolishing Long Beach City Hall

By: 
Gabriela Medina

[Editor's Note: An unedited version of this story with several errors appeared in the Nov. 5 print edition due to a production mistake. The following version corrects those errors.]

 

After 42 years, the 14 floors monument that stood known to be the Long Beach City Hall is being demolished and its remains are getting a huge makeover that is scheduled to officially be fully taken down in 2022.

In July 2019, Long Beach officials had moved out of the premises from the former City Hall located at 333 West Ocean Blvd., leading them to move in the new, 11-story City Hall westward at the Long Beach Civic Center just next door at 411 West Ocean Blvd. With the pandemic at stake, the process of demolishing the old building was put on a hold. When safety regulations were lifted and the city gave the clear to continue the destruction, a crane was brought to the site to haul the scraps.

In its time of progression, the Long Beach Civic Center undertook five buildings and landscapes such as Long Beach City Hall, the Main Library, the Long Beach Courthouse, Lincoln Park, and the Long Beach Public Safety Building and Police Station.

According to The Long Beach City Civic Center Master Plan, “The Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan revitalizes 22 acres of downtown Long Beach by creating a new, vibrant mixed-use district that includes a 270,000 square-foot City Hall, 93,500-square-foot Main Library, 232,000 square-foot Port Headquarters, and the reactivation of historic Lincoln Park.”

These plans are guaranteed to be made possible with the alliance of the city’s innovative public-private, partnership with Plenary Edgemoor Civic Partners. The plan included the exterior architecture of a modernized community. That included a new City Hall, the Port of Long Beach headquarters building located on the southwest corner, and a new library just north of the former location. 

The Port of Long Beach structure was built on the land that had been occupied by the county courthouse, which has now been standing at 275 Magnolia since 2013. Adjacent to the Queen Mary, the port building was formerly built on port property. Not only does the Long Beach Public Safety Building house the Long Beach Police Station, but it also houses a fire station. Once the Civic Center is fully completed, that building and the adjacent parking structure to the east are the only structures that will remain.

The “new” City Hall held a Grand Opening celebration to the public on Monday, July 29, 2019, where it later had resumed that following Tuesday, July 30, 2019, operating at its regular hours. On Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 the Main Library held its grand opening event.

Before the finalized master plan of the newly revitalized community, there had been requests for a roller rink and skate park, however, city officials came to the conclusion that the area would better benefit the community as a whole, by accommodating the arts. Through these alterations, the finalized plan for Lincoln Park included turning the space into a venue for locals to enjoy art and concerts outdoors. “The new Lincoln Park is designed to support strategic programming that encourages greater use by a wider cross-section of the city population. The development of a ‘Cultural Loop’ that connects a variety of artistic and historical experiences, and the integration of the new Main Library’s programs within the park provide public activation and security for the renewed civic space.”

In addition, the master plan utilizes design guidelines for 800 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial development. It also reintroduces the city grid with the regional bike network, buses, and the Metro Blue Line.

Unlike the former City Hall building, the construction of the Civic Center and new library, are designed to provide higher safety for both city employees and members of the community who visit the location. With the new safety regulations underway, community members are more than likely to feel safer.

With all of the new modernized changes, deconstruction of the former City Hall building will proceed as scheduled through 2022. The current land in which the City Hall is located will be moved for private development. Tasks that would arise include residential, retail, and a hotel. The private development in the former City Hall building is also set to take place through 2022.

Long Beach community members are preparing themselves for its modern makeover and are in the hopes of an even safer community. The setback of the pandemic caused a delay in the demolishment of the old City Hall building. Now, with uplifting safety regulations, the newly improved modernized Long Beach Civic Center is close to being fully completed.

 

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