August 5, 2008

Developer Takes Swing in L.B.

By Karen Robes Meeks

LONG BEACH - A boxing star's housing development company could punch up a corner of North Long Beach if talks go well between the company and redevelopment officials.

Long Beach Redevelopment Agency board members on Monday agreed to negotiate exclusively with Golden Pacific Partners, LLC, to develop housing across the street from the new Dooley Elementary School.

Golden Pacific - a collaborative business effort between Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises and Highridge Partners - beat out seven other developers for the opportunity to build on 1.3 acres at the northeast corner of Home Street and Long Beach Boulevard.

The six-month agreement with optional six-month extension allows the agency and Golden Pacific to determine whether the project is physically and financially feasible and whether it meets the community's needs, officials said.

The number of units, amenities and architectural design will be under negotiation, but the project is to include market-rate, single- family detached homes and a walkway that connects the neighborhood to the nearby school for families to cross safely, said Redevelopment Project Officer Aldo E. Schindler.

The goal is to keep the project to fewer than 24 units and limit the height to three stories for homes facing Long Beach Boulevard and two stories for homes facing Cedar Avenue, he added.

"We want something that's going to complement the surrounding neighborhood in terms of height and density and lay out a product that interacts with the boulevard," he said.

The company anticipates the development concept will include two- and three-bedroom units, said Pablo Leon of Golden Pacific.

News of the project was well-received by board members and community leaders.

"I think it's a good use of the property," said Martha Thuente, chairperson for the North Long Beach Redevelopment Project Area Committee.

"I would only advocate for this and any other development that the finished project have some character to it."

The agency acquired and demolished a cluster of blighted properties that sat on the land, including the Waite Motel, a liquor store, a vacant commercial building, a discount furniture store facing Long Beach Boulevard and a six-unit apartment complex on the backside of the block facing Cedar Avenue.

The agency spent $5.1 million in acquisition, relocation, demolition and property management costs, Schindler said, adding that all of the tenants were provided relocation benefits.

This is Golden Pacific's first venture into Long Beach. The company just completed the predevelopment process for a residential project in South Gate.

Metro Housing Partners, an affiliate homebuilding company that is part of the Golden Boy Partners team, has started construction on Tierra Del Rey, a 107-unit townhome project.

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