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City of Long Beach, California, USA

Downtown Long Beach Retail Action

After an international competition conducted in the fall of 2002 Talbot Consultants International Inc. has recently been awarded the contract for developing a “Retail Action Plan” for Downtown Long Beach’s main street, Pine Avenue. The objective is to provide a retail linkage between Carnival Corporation's new Long Beach Cruise Terminal at the RMS Queen Mary and Developers Diversified Realty Corp’s (DDR) new waterfront project, The Pike at Rainbow Harbour (to the south) and DDR’s redevelopment of the Long Beach Plaza Mall site to their new CityPlace project (to the north). Since the early 1900’s, Pine Avenue and the surrounding core of Downtown Long Beach have served as a destination for visitors and shoppers alike. During the latter part of the 1940’s Downtown bustled with activity as servicemen came home to their families and frequented Pine Avenue and the Pike Amusement Park. In the 1950’s, a shift in the retail world started to take place as shopping malls began to dot the landscape of Southern California. Downtowns, including Long Beach, were hit hard by this new phenomenon and struggled to retain their retail anchors. Beginning in 1957, Downtown Long Beach lost one store after another, including Walker’s Department Store, Desmonds, Howard Amus (men’s store), and part of Buffums. In response to this phenomenon, the Long Beach Plaza Mall was constructed in the heart of Downtown in the 1970’s, achieving moderate success. Long Beach embarked upon a program in the early 1990’s to upgrade its Downtown retail offering in an attempt to revitalize the City’s central core. To a degree, those efforts were initially moderately successful as two key blocks on Pine Ave., between First Street and Third Street, welcomed some recognizable national retailers and established the base to create a vibrant retail street. During this period, retailers continued their exodus from the struggling Long Beach Plaza, as the Plaza eventually closed its doors.

At the north end of Pine Avenue, the CityPlace project will include 450,000 square feet of retail, including a Wal-Mart, Nordstrom’s Rack, Ross Dress for Less, Albertson’s and Sav-On (see article attached). On the south end of Pine Avenue, DDR is developing the Pike at Rainbow Harbor, a 350,000 square foot retail/entertainment complex complete with a 15-screen, state of the art, movie theater, Sega Gameworks, and over a dozen national and regional restaurant tenants. In addition to these projects, over 1,000 market-rate residential units are under construction in the Downtown, with more than 2,000 units planned. In the interim, some Pine Avenue restaurants remain successful, while retail is struggling. Key retail real estate remains vacant in this core area.

City of Long Beach, California, USA

As Downtown Long Beach’s revitalization continues to grow within the retail, commercial, and residential sectors, it becomes apparent that a more critical mass of people and services will build within the Downtown core. As a result, the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the City of Long Beach are committed develop a retail strategy to effectively plan and manage this growth, taking advantage of the synergy of the Downtown market by retaining Talbot Consultants International Inc. to create a “Retail Action Plan” and an “over-arching” retail recruitment strategy, providing a framework for further retail growth and attraction based on current and future Downtown conditions. The tasking is to include:

  • Conducting in-depth market analysis including relevant market and consumer data.
  • Assessing the current retail climate with appropriate input from Downtown merchants, property owners and other interested parties.
  • Allowing public input through workshops and/or targeted surveys.
  • Understanding the property inventory as related to the site selection criteria of retailers.
  • Determining retail sectors that are underserved in the Downtown, recommending feasible sectors for recruitment, and providing a “hit list” of suggested retailers.
  • Developing short and long-term strategies for retail recruitment and retention.
  • Addressing a vision for Downtown retail at both the macro and micro levels.
  • Communicating and building consensus on these strategies with the Downtown retail community.
  • Creating a step-by-step implementation process, detailing retail recruitment protocol.
  • Educating a retail recruitment “swat team”, including DLBA and City staff, and members of the local real estate and financial community, on implementation of strategy.

See Also: Downtown Long Beach Retail Action Plan

(Long Beach’s main street, Pine Avenue has been one of the projects where TALBOT CONSULTANTS INTERNATIONAL INC. has provided consulting services for the retail action plans. For more details on this and how we can help you, please contact us at info@talbotconsultants.com )


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