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City Council To Explore Options For Long Beach Civic Center Replacement

By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer

February 14, 2013 - Pending a review of a city hall seismic study, Long Beach may see a new civic center in the near future.

The city council voted Tuesday to explore options for rebuilding Long Beach’s civic center by approving a request for qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ, which has not been released, allows developers to submit ideas for constructing a new city hall and main library branch along Ocean Boulevard and Pacific Avenue, and revitalizing Lincoln Park on Broadway and Pacific Avenue. It may also allow private development on the lot, or a partnership with other institutions such as the Port of Long Beach.

However, the request is on the condition of a substitute motion. A peer review must first be performed to confirm the current seismic study is valid.

According to Public Works Director Mike Conway, local governments were required to evaluate their facilities for seismic safety in 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina. City hall did not meet the requirements of its seismic study, and a second study in 2006 concluded that city hall’s core is structurally sound but does not meet current building standards.

“There are overstressed trusses on the second floor as a result of the oversized floor plate, relative to the ground floor, and the four wings have weak connections, deformed columns and excessive weight due to the precast concrete panels,” Conway reported at Tuesday’s meeting. “They could separate from the building in a significant seismic event. These would all hamper exiting efforts.”

The staff will release the RFQ if the peer review validates the study. If the peer review proves the current seismic study is not valid, staff will conduct a new seismic study.