Back in July of this year, Long Beach-based Arcadia Management proposed a building for the empty lot @ 158 New York Ave. Residents went nuts over parking and building height. Proposal withdrawn. This past week at the West End Neighbors Civic Association meeting, Arcadia Management presented a new proposal which you can read all about @ the LB Patch: Arcadia Presents West End Apartment Proposal.
I just have a few thoughts on this new proposal.
Regardless of the location (158 New York Ave) and parking issues, I happen to love the look of the building Arcadia is proposing. As you can see in the rendering, it’s fairly modern, clean and brings Long Beach up to date. It makes those fucco (fake stucco) buildings look downright old, cheap, exhausted, cheap and really cheap (I feel like years from now we are going to look back at these styrofoam fake stucco buildings and regret that choice of material. I personally would never want to live in a Styrofoam-type house in an area that has flooding, but that’s just me.)
Anyway, According to the LB Patch, this proposed building would be the first green-friendly one in Long Beach (Didn’t the Allegria try to claim that already?). If not built at this location, I would love to see these plans elsewhere, hopefully starting a trend for more LEED certified buildings in our city by the sea. One of the jewels of Long Beach is our environment (duh…the beach). It’s our job to protect it as much as we can. If we’re going to build, let’s do it the right way with the smallest ecological footprint as possible.
THE LOCATION (158 New York Ave):
Part of me doesn’t want to touch this topic because I know most of you will yell “PARKING!” I don’t live in that particular area of Long Beach, so I don’t know what the parking situation is. I’m assuming it sucks like the rest of town. From the LB Patch: “The proposed building would be five stories, with the first story devoted to parking……Each unit would have a parking space and the two-bedroom units would have tandem spaces.” I believe the last proposal involved the developer to possibly use the lot over at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School for parking, but that wasn’t so clear. So does this new parking scheme suffice? I’m sure it doesn’t, but please don’t yell at me in the comments like with that other building. I am not the one building this thing.
I’m not going to argue about parking with anyone in this town anymore, but I am an advocate of all that smart development/complete streets nonsense. What I see here is a proposed building in a location that is walking distance to the beach and the West End downtown (restaurants, shops, bars). I would like to believe that the added vehicular traffic from this building would be minimal, or not as much as you think. It’s the same old battle between Smart Development and Suburban Sprawl.
That all being said: I am really tired of looking at this ugly lot (see photo above). This project is most likely wrong for that location, but something needs to go here. Anything.
This is actually what troubles me the most. The project was pitched as affordable rentals, but only for retired people. From the LB Patch article: “I am mainly looking for retired people,” [Joe Iorio, Arcadia Management] said. “People raise their families here and then want to sell their homes, but want to remain in Long Beach and are not able to do so because of the lack of affordable rentals.”
The last time I checked, it was the young adults who were having problems finding affordable places to live on Long Island. Most people don’t get it. They say we have to lower the taxes and the young adults will come back. I disagree: A) The taxes will never be lowered, so throw that idea out the window. B) Many young adults want more exciting places to live, thus many flock to the city (See Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s like lord of the flies, but with hipsters). Long Beach is an exciting place, but we are eliminating options for them to live here. Please keep it affordable for everybody, both young and old, before illegal rentals are the only way to go for most.