On Monday, July 29th, the City of Long Beach celebrated the grand opening of its new City Hall and Port Headquarters buildings, located within the recently developed Long Beach Civic Center. Hundreds of community members, municipal staff, business leaders, and design and construction team members gathered to tour the site and hear speeches by local officials, including remarks by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
The completion of the City Hall and Port Headquarters marks a major milestone in the revitalization of Downtown Long Beach—the city’s largest public-private partnership effort to date. The development began in 2015 when the Long Beach City Council and Board of Harbor Commissioners selected Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners to lead the project, which is master planned and designed by SOM and constructed by Clark Construction Group.
The new City Hall and Port Headquarters are designed to symbolize transparency and accessibility in both form and function. The buildings have long, narrow floor plates with split cores that link interior spaces, resulting in large, open office plans that provide ample exterior views. An elliptical-shaped Council Chambers, shared by the City Council and Port Commissioners, is located within City Hall and prominently anchors the west end of the Civic Center plaza.
"It was wonderful to see the city leaders and residents of Long Beach fill the new civic plaza, bringing it to life,” said SOM Design Partner Paul Danna. “The event was proof that the buildings we designed and the spaces they form will embody a new 'heart for public life in the City of Long Beach."
After the grand opening, guests were invited to explore the site, interact with city officials, and experience a variety of unique features, including a digital media wall in the City Hall lobby—designed by SOM’s Environmental Graphics team—and a variety of ship models located in the Port Headquarters lobby.
In addition to Design Partner Paul Danna, Design Director José Luis Palacios and Managing Director Jed Zimmerman were in attendance during the ceremony. Afterward, they were recognized for their contribution to the project during a private reception.
As part of the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan, a new Main Library, also designed by SOM, will open to the public on September 21st, 2019.