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Downtown Long Beach Named as a Top Turnaround Downtown

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The many changes in Downtown Long Beach have not gone unnoticed. The public and private sectors’ efforts in the last decade have paid off as Long Beach was named one of the top ten turnaround Downtowns in the country in an article published by The Urban Land Institute (ULI). A nonprofit research and education organization, the ULI’s mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Other cities included were: Brooklyn, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Des Moines, Iowa; Fargo, North Dakota; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Memphis, Tennessee; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, DC.

"Our Downtown is dynamic, energized and the heart of our revitalized urban core," said Mayor Bob Foster. "Downtown Long Beach is a landmark destination for culture, dining and urban living."

Excerpts of the article are reprinted below with permission. “After decades of decline, downtowns are back—but not by accident. Downtown revivals tend to occur when the public and private sectors carry out a coherent vision that reflects the surrounding community’s aspirations and individual character.

Young adults and empty nesters in particular are reversing the nationwide flight to the suburbs that started in the 1950s, embracing the pedestrian-friendly, culturally rich environment that downtowns have traditionally offered…But what makes for a successful downtown turnaround?

Most revitalized urban cores have a solid office market, a critical mass of downtown residents, strong retail, and variety of cultural, recreational, and entertainment options tuned to the populace’s interests. Establishing a vision is crucial to a successful downtown revitalization: a formal or informal process that identifies the community’s desires, determines existing strengths to build on, and fosters public support and enthusiasm…The following is a representative sampling…

Long Beach, California

The end of the Cold War resulted in a double whammy for Long Beach, dependent on two economic mainstays—the city’s aerospace industry downsized significantly, and then the Navy pulled anchor. Downtown gave way to cheap drinking haunts and empty storefronts. The city had to refocus its economy, with the redevelopment agency pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the downtown. Residential, entertainment, and commercial sectors have taken off since the turn of the millennium. The mixed-use CityPlace replaced an eight-block enclosed mall in 2004, offering a mix of apartments, lofts, retail and a full-service grocery. In 2005, the Pike at Rainbow Harbor put 369,000 square feet of chain retail on the waterfront. Diners and concert-goers crowd Pine Avenue. And the city has helped fund arts events like SoundWalk, an annual evening walking tour through the East Village arts district that draws close to a thousand visitors.

“We are very proud of the tremendous progress that has been made in Downtown Long Beach,” said DLBA Board of Directors Chair Jane Netherton. “We recognize there is still much to accomplish and look forward to achieving even greater success.”

For more information please contact the DLBA at (562) 436-4259.


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