Long Beach Civic Center Project Community Review Process Outlined

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Today the City of Long Beach announced the community review process for the Long Beach Civic Center project. Over the next few months, the City will be holding a series of meetings to review the Civic Center, review the various options, take public input, and review the proposals the City has received to construct a new Civic Center.

The Long Beach Civic Center faces significant seismic problems and has been found to be vulnerable in the event of a Northridge-type earthquake. Long Beach has an opportunity to engage the private sector in a public-private partnership to build a new seismically safe Civic Center, including a new City Hall, Main Library and possibly a new Port headquarters, with no new tax burden on the City’s residents. Over the past year, the City has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and subsequently a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking qualified entities to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new Civic Center.

In an effort to embrace a greater level of transparency and provide additional opportunities for public education and input, a number of City Council study sessions on the Civic Center proposals are being scheduled. These study sessions are intended to further engage and educate the public regarding the process to date and process moving forward, and for the public to provide testimony to the City Council regarding the Civic Center project prior to any action by the City Council to consider the selection of a Preferred Proposer. The study sessions will be held throughout the city to encourage broad participation by residents, with the first one being held at Long Beach City College on the east side of Long Beach. If the City decides to move forward with a Preferred Proposer, the Proposer will launch a six- to nine-month community input process on the new Civic Center and private development, with meetings in every City Council district.

“It is important to take our time with the Civic Center review and provide an opportunity to look at all the facts before making a decision.” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “Over the next several months we will be engaging the community and the City Council in a full review of the various options and issues.”

The focus of the first study session will be to review the project’s background, including seismic studies, alternative scenarios, the Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals. This study session is informational only, and no action will be taken.

“We have an opportunity to implement a significant piece of the community’s vision for downtown with this project, and it is important to do it right,” said Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal.

In October and November, there will be a series of meetings to hear from the bidders on their proposals for a new Civic Center and private development, and provide an opportunity for the community to see and offer input on scaled models of each proposed project. At the end of the public outreach process, the City Council may consider the selection a Preferred Proposer to partner with the City to design, build, finance, operate and maintain and new Civic Center.

“A comprehensive and strong public outreach strategy that involves our diverse and multi-lingual Downtown community of residents and businesses, as well as our entire community, will be the most essential piece of this major project in our city,” said First District Councilmember Lena Gonzalez.

If the City Council selects the Preferred Proposer and authorizes City staff to proceed with the project, the selection of the Preferred Proposer will mark the beginning of a City-wide public outreach and education process, typical for all large developments, in an effort to receive entitlements to proceed with the project. It is expected that this outreach, education and entitlement process with take six to nine months, with meetings in every Council district. After the outreach effort, the project will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council for further consideration.

Timeline / Project History
On February 12, 2013, the City Council authorized the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), seeking qualified entities to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new Civic Center at an annual cost not to exceed $12.6 million in 2013 dollars. This is the amount of money that the City currently spends to maintain City Hall and fund leases for off-site employee work space. On April 1, 2013, the Board of Harbor Commissioners agreed to participate in the RFQ process. The RFQ was released on April 26, 2013 and responses were due on July 26, 2013. On October 22, 2013, the City Council selected the Short List of RFQ Respondents and authorized the preparation and release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the Short List for a Public-Private Partnership to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new Civic Center. On January 27, 2014, The Board of Harbor Commissioners agreed to participate in the RFP process. The RFP was released on February 28, 2014, and responses were due on June 2, 2014. Responses were received from Long Beach CiviCore Alliance and Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners. Since receipt of the proposals, staff and their consultant team, Arup North American Ltd., have been engaged in detailed review and analysis of the submittals.

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