Saturday, March 8, 2014

Long Beach Approves High-Rise Project on Boardwalk

Keep your eyes on the empty block overlooking the boardwalk between Long Beach and Riverside Boulevards. Paving the way for what will become the two tallest structures in Long Beach, the city zoning board has approved a plan by iStar Residential, to build two luxury apartment towers on long-vacant 6-acre parcel.

The developer asked the zoning board for a variance to develop a new mixed residential and commercial development between Riverside and Long Beach Boulevards, on a property that has been vacant for the past 30 years.

The project includes two 15-story buildings —  approximately 50 feet taller than the city’s current height limit of 110 feetwith 522 luxury rental apartments and 11,000 square feet of retail space for a handful of shops along the boardwalk.

Representatives from iStar Residential say that construction may begin as early as this summer

With rents starting at over $2,000 per month, the apartments would be marketed to young professionals and empty-nesters. The project is expected to attract 800 to 900 new residents and generate $4.8 million in tax revenue per year for the city and the Long Beach School District.

Additionally, a 6,000-square-foot promenade would integrate with the new boardwalk and be devoted to public space, with cafe tables, benches and other amenities.

City officials and the Chamber of Commerce lauded the board’s decision, saying that the project would generate tax revenue, create jobs and offer the first mix of retail shops on the boardwalk in decades.

“Now that the zoning board has rendered its decision, we are ready for this project, decades in the making, to move forward,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

 “At the end of the day, the property is owned by a private company and that company’s goal is to develop the property and make a profit. The tax revenue generated by this new facility will be far greater than the existing vacant property, and that is wonderful news for Long Beach."

And along with construction jobs, the new development will create numerous permanent jobs in both the residential and commercial sectors.

The developer already had approval to build on the property: In 2006, the city rezoned the Superblock, allowing for two 110-foot-tall buildings with 425 condominium and hotel units. However, the developer said that plan would not be economically viable in today’s market.

A statement from the developer reads, “iStar Residential is delighted with Long Beach zoning board’s approval of our residential project on the site known as Superblock. We look forward to being good neighbors and to starting on the single most exciting project on Long Island in 2014, showing that Long Beach is back and open for business.”

Representatives said that the revised project would take up significantly less space on the property. Though the new towers are taller, they are more slender, offering better ocean views than those in the original plan. The project will create 937 parking spaces for residents and guests, and 23 retail spots, which will be more than sufficient.

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