A local company is scaling back plans redevelop a parking lot with housing and retail in Downtown Long Beach, according to a staff report scheduled for the April 15 meeting of the Long Beach Planning Commission.
Ensemble, the developer behind the project at 3rd Street and Pacific Avenue, secured approvals from the Commission in 2019 to build a project consisting of 345 residential units, 14,481 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses, and parking for 563 vehicles. At the time, the Long Beach-based firm had envisioned the construction of a two-building complex consisting of an eight-story podium structure to the north and a 23-story high-rise fronting 3rd Street.
Now, according to the staff report, Ensemble has dropped plans for the apartment tower, and intends to pursue the project as a single eight-story edifice. The smaller scale of the development would cut the amount of proposed housing to 271 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units – all of which would rent at market-rate. Likewise, the amount of planned retail space would be reduced to less than 12,000 square feet, while the amount of proposed parking would be cut to 395 stalls.
Urban Architecture Lab is designing the revised project, taking over from Portland-based firm Ankrom Moisan. Plans call for an exterior of cement, fiber cement boards, glass, and painted plaster, as well as amenities such as a fitness center, a club room, a rooftop deck, and multiple courtyards.
One component of the project which remains unchanged from the earlier iteration is a proposed mind-block paseo which would allow pedestrians to cut through the property at street level to reach Pine Avenue one block east.
The staff report finds that the project is within the scope of the Downtown Long Beach community plan's environmental impact report, and does not require further study. Staff recommends that the Commission should approve the modified project.
Ensemble is behind several mixed-use projects in the Downtown community, including a similar apartment complex now rising across the street from the George Deukmejian Courthouse.
While the 3rd & Pacific development may have lost its high-rise, other tall buildings remain in the works for Downtown Long Beach. Onni Group is now in construction at a 23-story apartment tower as part of its Broadway Block development, and completion is nearing for Shoreline Gateway, a 35-story tower that is now the tallest building in Long Beach.