The Downtown Long Beach Alliance, the area’s longtime real estate business improvement district, is up for renewal this year, which would mean expanded boundaries and additional fees for landlords, according to city documents.
The PBID has been operating downtown since 1998, when it was approved for a five-year term. He was then renewed for two 10-year terms in 2003 and 2012. On Tuesday, the city council will vote for a third 10-year renewal that potentially includes expanding the district’s boundaries north and south.
The northern boundary along Pacific Avenue currently ends at Sixth Street, while the Pine Avenue boundary continues to Eighth Street. The new boundary would continue along Pacific Avenue to Eighth Street.
“It’s about continuity of service,” said Austin Metoyer, head of economic development and policy for the DLBA, in a telephone interview. “[We] only serve our region but there are [other] owners who have requested these services.
South of Ocean Boulevard, the current boundary does not encompass any waterfronts south of Shoreline Drive. The new boundary would expand to include much of the Rainbow Harbor area, stretching from the roundabout near the Aquarium of the Pacific along the waterfront to Shoreline Village, which is not included in the update.
Restaurants along the waterfront including Hooters, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, PF Chang’s, Gladstones, Tokyo Wako and Q Smokehouse, as well as walking paths along the water, would be included in the DLBA’s service area .
“[Expanding to] the waterfront is always a question of continuity of service, but it’s more a question of [our] ambassadors interact with tourists and visitors,” Metoyer said. “Whether it’s for a convention or conference, or just here on vacation, it’s a way to provide hospitality, engagement and inspire people to explore more downtown.”
The DLBA has already circulated a petition to property owners within its existing boundaries as well as those of potential additions. The petition required a majority of landowners – in the case of residential properties for sale, each individual owner counts as one landowner.
The organization delivered the completed petition to the city last month.
If the board votes in favor of the staff recommendation, all current and potential landowners in the DLBA area will participate in a formal vote, which also requires a majority of the assessments to be in favour. The council would then hold a public hearing on July 19 to review the renewal, hear any protests and tabulate the ballots, each of which would be “weighted according to the proportionate financial obligation of the affected property,” according to staff.
There are two zones in the district: premium and standard. Premium properties pay a higher rate than standard properties. The use of the property – retail, restaurant, residence, etc. – also plays a role in determining the rate.
The result of the vote would be announced before the end of the hearing.
If passed, the organization would be allowed to operate from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2032. The DLBA is expected to begin the renewal process again in early 2032.
The annual improvement district budget is funded by property assessment fees paid by property owners. On average, those fees are expected to increase by 34.5%, according to city documents. Valuations for city-owned properties, for example, are expected to rise from nearly $180,000 a year to more than $785,000 a year, with more than $220,000 to be paid by the Pike Outlets property management contractor.
The new additions include 50 parcels of land subject to assessment.
With the new properties and the increase in the assessment rate, the district’s annual budget will increase from $2.8 million to $3.9 million, according to Metoyer.
Since its last renewal, the DLBA has used its property assessment revenue for a litany of programs, according to city staff. The organization held more than 130 events, removed 51,000 stickers and examples of graffiti, updated wayfinding signage, provided regular pressure washing, created 27 temporary parklets, expanded support for homeless people and provided more $700,000 in small business grants.
The increased budget would pay for additional staff and services across the district, according to a staff report. This would include extensive pressure washing of sidewalks, hiring a homeless outreach officer to work with social service agencies, local nonprofits and city departments, raising the salary workers and hiring a corporate navigator to extend business support.
“We launched this project in 2021 … to determine where programs and services should be directed for the next five to 10 years,” Metoyer said. “We just want to make sure that [we] align with what we hear from the community.