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Witness the Evolution of Long Beach in 10 Before-and-After Photos

Long Beach CA Cityscape Changes

Though sometimes overshadowed by its larger neighbor, Los Angeles, Long Beach is a gem of the California coast, and one of the world’s largest shipping ports. People come to the city for business and pleasure, and in the past ten years a lot has changed, with more development in the pipeline, including the $520 million Long Beach Civic Center Project. The new civic center will feature several state-of-the-art structures – a City Hall, Port HQ, Main Library, Public Park and street improvements – and eventually residential, retail and hospitality facilities.

The Past Meets the Present in Pictures

With a little assistance from Google’s Street View, we’ve taken a short trip through Long Beach’s recent history and pinpointed some of the biggest changes that have occurred in local architecture. These before-and-after photos showcase just a few of the handsome new buildings of the past decade.

To switch between the old and new images, simply drag the arrow back-and-forth.

1. Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse – West Gateway

Year Completed: 2013

With its façade of gleaming glass and its distinctive outline, it’s impossible to miss the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, located on the corner of Broadway and Magnolia Ave. With 31 courtrooms and over 400,000 square feet of court space, the courthouse was designed to accommodate the large volume of judicial proceedings overseen by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. It was also designed for sustainability, boasting energy-saving systems for heating and cooling, good solar design, water-conserving landscaping, and automated light-harvesting systems, which ultimately gained a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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2. Gallery421 – West Gateway

Year Completed: 2010

Just across the street from the courthouse, the Gallery421 apartments offer urban living “in its most elevated form,” combining a prime location with some of the best amenities around. Residents can savor the European-style cabinetry, high ceilings, and spacious walk-in closets in their apartments, or step out to enjoy on-site rooms for billiards and cards, a fitness center, a resort-style pool, and even a spa for residents and their pets.

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3. The Lofts at Promenade – Downtown – Check Availability

Year Completed: 2008

Built right on the Promenade, downtown Long Beach’s dedicated walk-street, The Lofts at Promenade sit in the midst of a hub of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, and the beach is just a short walk away. With a performance stage, fountains, and a fireplace lounge area, the Promenade is a festive gathering place for guests to dine, shop, and be entertained, while the Lofts offer residents all the amenities they’ve come to expect from upscale urban living, including gourmet kitchens in luxuriously-designed apartments.

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4. The Annex – Downtown

Year Completed: 2013

Designed as part of a larger plan to promote mixed-income, inter-generational living spaces in downtown Long Beach on a budget but without sacrificing style, appeal, and accessibility, The Annex may look like a luxury condominium, but it boasts many surprising innovations. From its tower element inspired by life guard stations on the nearby beach to its use of concrete blocks to simulate the look of wood, The Annex has won multiple awards for its unusual approach to affordable housing.

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5. Senior Arts Colony – Downtown – Check Availability

Year Completed: 2013

A part of the same project as The Annex, the 161-unit Senior Arts Colony designed by Studio One Eleven offers affordable, transit-oriented senior housing that is vibrant, contemporary, and artistic, to create “a community focused on continued learning and fitness.” Along with an innovatively-designed south-facing courtyard, the Senior Arts Colony offers its residents of host of amenities, including a fitness center, art studios, a library with roof deck, playhouse, and more, all located in a pedestrian-friendly, multifamily neighborhood in downtown Long Beach.

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6. LBCC Parking Garage – Old Lakewood City

Year Completed: 2011

While it’s not often considered when thinking about a city’s architectural landscape, good parking is a vital part of any successful urban plan. This parking garage at Long Beach City College combines an attractive façade with utility and sustainability. Besides digital car counters at every entrance that let students know about parking availability, the 900-car structure is also the second largest solar installation in the city of Long Beach, helping to make LBCC the greenest community college in the state.

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7. Miller Children’s Hospital – Signal Hill

Year Completed: 2008

As part of the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center campus, Miller Children’s Hospital has been providing specialized pediatric care for children and young adults for years, including maternity care for expectant mothers. One of only eight free-standing children’s hospitals in the state, Miller Children’s treats more than 14,000 children each year. Recent major redesigns have added a new campus entrance along Atlantic Avenue and a green roof that aids in stormwater management, as well as expanded pediatric inpatient facilities, and one of the largest neonatal care units in the state.

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8. The Kinesiology & Fitness Center – Poly High

Year Completed: 2013

Originally built in 1935 to serve as a junior high cafeteria, the building along the Long Beach City College quad that would become LBCC’s new Kinesiology & Fitness Center first had to undergo a major facelift. The architectural transformation was intended to match the contemporary feel of the campus without completely losing its original art deco look. Inside the 7,000 square foot facility are more than $100,000 worth of equipment—including a lateral carver that is one of only seven in the country – as well as spaces for everything from spin courses to yoga classes.

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9. Industrial Technology Center – Poly High

Year Completed: 2011

The 26,000 square foot Industrial Technology Center at Long Beach City College was designed to humanize a technical, machine-based curriculum. One of the ways it does that is by maximizing the amount of sunlight that reaches the interior of the building, while using spandrel glass to reduce sunlight-generated heat. A landscaped “quad” with trees and low benches gives students a place to relax and get some fresh air between classes.

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10. College Plaza – Signal Hill

Year Completed: 2011

Directly across from the Aviation & Automotive Technology Center at Long Beach City College, and conveniently located along the Pacific Coast Highway, College Plaza is home to a Subway sandwich chain for quick, fresh food, as well as a car wash, Mini Mart, and salon, offering convenience and value to LBCC students and anyone else who might be passing by.

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A lot has changed in Long Beach over the past decade – including the addition of many innovative new architectural landmarks throughout the city. We tried to be egalitarian in our coverage of the many exciting buildings that have sprung up over the last ten years, but if we missed a favorite of yours, be sure to let us know – and don’t forget to send photos via email – maybe it will show up in the next installment!

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About the author

Ama Otet

Ama Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time. You can connect with Ama on Twitter or via email.

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