Near the old Long Beach City Hall there is a new City Hall being constructed that is part of a nearly $900 million makeover of the area. The old city hall high rise building was built in 1976 and is the centerpiece of an obsolete civic center that the city is trying to invigorate. The makeover of the area will introduce apartments, stores, restaurants and possibly a hotel. The project also happens to be the largest public-private development of its kind on the West Coast, which is expected to serve as a model for other cities in the nation. Larry Kosmont, a Manhattan Beach-based development consultant who is not involved with the project, stated,
Some version of the Long Beach public-private partnership is the future of how public facilities should be built. We expect this model to expand and proliferate in California.
The way the project was worked out is that private real estate developers agreed to build $520 million worth of public buildings and a city park in exchange for land where they will build their own profit making apartments, condominiums and stores. The private development is valued at more than $350 million. The first phase of the transformation is currently underway, which consists of the construction of the City Hall, the Port of Long Beach headquarters, and the main public library. These buildings are expected to be completed in 2019, at which point the old City Hall and library will be demolished to make way for the private development projects. Projects like this are typically funded by selling bonds, so this will definitely save tax payers’ money. Hopefully, this project is successful and inspires other cities to do the same.