Tag Archives: development

That 158 New York Ave Proposal (A few thoughts)

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 Proposal withdrawn.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.

THE BUILDING:

(Photo Credit Joley Welkowitz, The LB Patch – Arcadia Presents West End Apartment Proposal. More photos @ the LB Patch)

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.

THE USE:

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.

(Even More) Development Coming to the East End.

Back in September we blogged about a new building going up on E. Broadway between Franklin Blvd & Lincoln Blvd. Well that project isn’t even done yet, but it’s already spawning a twin. The question is: Will it be fraternal or identical?  Besides the obvious fact that this new building has an extra row of apartments, the design does appear to be slightly different. I’ll update you with photos as they go along.

Like I said back in September, this is the future of Broadway.

Related Articles:

October 4th – East End Updates: Attack of the Condos, Jackson Hotel Squatters, New Parking Malls & Saying Goodbye to Beth Sholom.

September 7th – New E. Broadway Building (LB Keeps getting taller)

Castles Made of Sand (Quiksilver Vs. History?)

A few days ago, a reader commented regarding the Quiksilver Live Site on the SUPERBLOCK and how they were “tearing up and getting rid of the remains of [what] was known as the Monuments on the Broadway lot. ”  Further, they commented it was a “shameful thing.”

First things first, I wanted to know what they were talking about.  For years I’ve seen concrete in varying degrees of disarray mixed into the SUPERBLOCK, but always assumed it was the ancient foundation of the the Long Beach Hotel or its successor which never was.

So, when the reader commented that it actually tracked it’s heritage back to WWII, I was excited to look  into it.  The best info I could find was over at http://www.ilovelbny.com/ (which is an incredible resource for all things LB History).  There, they write that this site was actually a spotting tower for Battery Harris – but more commonly referred to as the Fire Control Tower or the Lookout Tower.  You can see a great shot on the header of this post, dated around the 1950s, courtesy of ilovelbny and the Tydings family.

The site was built during WWII to keep an eye out for unwanted German naval ships trying to get near New York Harbor.  Whether they were looking for surface ships, or the dreaded U-boats seems to be up for discussion, but the fact remains, that this site served as a part of the U.S.’s network of coastal defenses during World War II.  According to ILoveLBNY, there was also a similar tower built at Atlantic Beach.  There are a few more photos courtesy of the Tydings family here.

So onto the more contentious issue:  Quiksilver (or the city) has come in to finally rip out what remains of its concrete foundation to prep the grounds for the Live Site.  A shameful thing?  I think not.  The SUPERBLOCK has to be looked at as one of the greatest eyesores in Long Beach.  A massive lot that has done nothing but grow weeds, collect garbage, and was turned into a snow melting zone after the record snowfall this past winter.

A month from now, after some rubble that has nearly been forgotten  is removed from the site, the area will (hopefully) become a vibrant carnival ground, featuring music and entertainment for the public at large.  I’m the biggest proponent of history and remembering what has been here before.  More of a reason to put up a plaque, write a book, or have a blog gather some info on the site and write a post.

Quiksilver will leave the superblock in better condition than they found it in – and will certainly be held accountable if they do not.  The City of Long Beach and its residents will benefit much more from this refreshed area as opposed to leaving it in its current state.

In closing, let’s raise a drink to this once imposing monument on the boardwalk, but also look forward to how much more the SUPERBLOCK can be, with the Live Site being the first of many new uses.