For renderings, scroll through gallery above.
There have always been issues at Ocean and Pine.
Long after it was the central intersection of life within the city—some 4,000 pedestrians crossed it hourly at its peak, soon prompting the development of a tunnel in 1927 that has been shuttered for years—Ocean and Pine failed to connect Downtown to the waterfront. Since then, there have been discussions, many of them beautifully constructed (like the Downtown Long Beach Alliances’s partnership with the Urban Land Institute to address this specific question).
And we’re getting closer to fixing all that. With a proposed 25-story mixed-use hotel development to be headed on the southeast corner, there’s hope.
But what about that sad, sad lot just west of Ocean Center?
Looks like more housing: the OceanAire development, a 7-story, 216-unit structure (being developed by Lennar) is a welcomed addition to the (possible?) adaptive reuse of Ocean Center.
Well, mostly welcomed. Housing is always but the lack of height, especially for a building on Ocean Blvd., makes us trepidatious—especially after we learned that the original plans called for a 17-story structure—as it might set a standard that ultimately aims for sprawl less than density.
Renderings—designed by architects Togawa Martin Smith, the style most certainly harken to a mimicry of Studio One Eleven’s style—have been released and what perhaps remains most fascinating is not the building’s shrunken size. (Before the housing crash hit developers, Lennar had originally planned on a 20-story building—a far more dramatic addition to our skyline but something we would have largely supported.)
What is perhaps most intriguing is the development’s concern about and attention toward Victory Park.
The disjointed “park” jumps along Ocean Blvd. in patches from Chestnut to Alamitos that resemble corporate landscaping far more than they resemble a park. Thanks to an 80-foot expansion from Ocean southward, at least one part of Victory will resemble a park complete with a stage/trellis, public art gallery, and field for hanging out.
“Amy Bodek of the City of Long Beach was instrumental in helping this park come alive,” Ethen Thatcher of Lennar told the DLBA. “She worked tirelessly with Ocean Center and Camden Apartments to expand the space.”
Even more, an easement on the east edge of OceanAire and the west edge of Ocean Center connect pedestrians to Seaside Way and the Pike and vice versa (including at night thanks to the lighting).
According to the DLBA, “a bike kitchen on the ground floor will be available for residents. Supplies stocked by local bike shops will provide bicyclists with easy access to need-now tools and quick fixes.”
Construction is expected to be a 20-month long process. All units will be rentals.