Congressional project going before PC

Seal Beach Yacht Club meets with development reps

Congressional Place will become a six-story residential/retail complex.

One of Long Beach’s newest multi-use housing projects is scheduled to go before the city’s Planning Commission tonight for final approval for consideration by the Long Beach City Council. The new complex will be replacing the Congressional Place office building at 6700 Pacific Coast Hwy., across from the Long Beach Marina.

One of the closest buildings to the site is the one that houses the Seal Beach Yacht Club and  club members recently met with representatives of the development company that is taking over the property. Holland Partner Group, with offices in Long Beach, is set to demolish the current office building and construct a multi-use complex with 281 apartment units, and 3,100 square feet of retail space. Of the 281 apartment units, 13 will be designated as very-low-income affordable units, according to the City Staff report and Holland Group representatives.

The group representatives met with Yacht Club members and officials to address concerns that the club and Marina patrons had regarding the projects. Key among them was parking, both during construction and after completion.

The staff report indicated that the plan called for 507 vehicle parking spaces, as well as 143 bicycle parking spaces. During their presentation to the Yacht Club, Holland Development Director Clement Tsay said the most recent plans included approximately 516 vehicle spaces. He said that equated to 1.8 spaces per resident, more than most projects.

“We don’t anticipate that there will be insufficient parking within our building,” Tsay said.

According to Tsay, the city of Long Beach has been encouraging the complex to make parking a separate cost from rent. By not including parking spaces automatically, residents could save money if they don’t own a car or if they limit their ownership to one car. But it could also create issues if residents start trying to park outside the complex. Yacht Club officials pointed out that there is no overnight parking allowed in the lot adjacent to their building.

Parking during construction was also concern as workers would need a place to park during work hours. Tsay said the group is looking into setting up parking for workers at neighboring 2nd & PCH center, or in the lot across PCH that is used as a pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot during the holiday season, which creates obvious limitations.

“We’re reaching out to all the neighbors to try and figure out where they can go … we’ll do our best,” Tsay said.

The new project will change the location from a two-story office complex, to a six-story residential building with first-floor retail space. So, increased traffic is also a concern for neighbors. According to Tsay, the traffic studies that they have conducted have predicted that during peak traffic hours, there would be only a net increase of about nine trips per day.

The entrance to the complex will remain on Studebaker Road, the short road between PCH and Marina Drive. There are no options to add other entrance/exit points. The PCH side is in CalTrans jurisdiction and Tsay said they have already said no to the idea.

However, Tsay said that the group will be required to make any needed improvements to the intersection, including “re-signalizing,” that are required to try and compensate for the extra traffic to and from the complex.

“So that should help mitigate the flow of traffic,” Tsay said.

Among other aspects of the project, the group will be required to make improvements to public portions of the intersection, including a raised and revised bike path and sidewalk, as well as a re-doing the bus bench. The complex will also be all-electric, have solar panels on the roof and will be planting approximately 50 trees on the site.