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Long Beach 'nuisance' block demolished for fresh start

April 6, 2011 12:40:25 AM PDT
Cities are usually pushing for development, not demolition, but on Tuesday, the city of Long Beach knocked down a facility considered a nuisance.

An out-of-business check-cashing store has been wiped out. It was the last building on the blighted block that the city and developers said had to go. The demolition was the final step to prepping the area for a revitalization project that started last year.

"There was a very dense apartment complex down on the end, and then several other overcrowded duplexes and rental properties," said Megan Sorensen of the Long Beach Housing Development Company.

City Councilman Robert Garcia helped take down the first few concrete blocks, as the city of Long Beach and the Long Beach Housing Development Company prepared to build something much more positive in its place.

"We're not only going to create really great, quality townhome-type living in this area and reduce the density, but we're also going to create a great gateway," Garcia said.

Prior to the project, locals said the entire area was infested with crime. It attracted the wrong crowd and kept police busy with nuisance calls.

"This was a big draw for prostitution and drug dealing," said Lt. Randy Allen of the Long Beach Police Department.

Allen said the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Avenue was always a major focal point because it is a major thoroughfare.

Now, the major thoroughfare will be home to six new parcels, creating space for low to moderate-income housing.

Developers hope to begin construction sometime next year.