(February 26, 2003) -- A recently-released city management report on Redevelopment alternatives for Council consideration contains a bombshell proposal: It lists the Boeing property (west side of Lakewood Blvd. between Conant St. and Carson St.) as a "possible candidate" for inclusion within a Redevelopment Area.
If the Council were ultimately to vote to proceed with this, it could have seismic, long term implications for Airport development, and arguably property values and taxpayer services.
LBReport.com posts pertinent excerpts of the city management report below.
The materials indicate the Boeing property was made part of the Redevelopment evaluation by on the recommendation of City Hall's Economic Development Bureau staff. The City Council never voted on this.
An evaluation was then conducted by the firm of Kayser-Marston Associates (KMA) hired by the Redevelopment Agency itself. That firm concluded the Boeing property is a "possible candidate" for inclusion in a Redevelopment project area. (The firm deemed 12 areas "possible candidates" and four others "strong" candidates.)
If a Council majority ultimately voted to put the Boeing property in a Redevelopment area, it would divert expected property tax revenue increases (which taxpayers would otherwise receive from whatever is built on the site) away from the General Fund (which provides police, fire, library services). Instead, property tax revenue increases would be siphoned to City Hall's Redevelopment Agency, governed by a non-elected Board, to do what the Redevelopment Agency wants. Public input and appeal rights are more limited, and there's less accountability than with the elected City Council. Many issues are effectively fast tracked or predigested before reaching the Council (if at all).
And the decision on what is built on the Boeing site would no longer be market driven. Boeing has not sought public subsidies to construct its proposed PacifiCenter project. In contrast, within a Redevelopment area, the project is directed by what City Hall wants. The Redevelopment Agency dispenses subsidies and incurs debt to finance what it desires, funded by the property tax revenue increases diverted from the General Fund.
Pertinent excerpts of the city management Redevelopment report follow:
Although projects must be both physically and economically blighted, it is KMA's opinion that the physical blight test is the most difficult to meet. Therefore, this analysis focuses on identifying physical blighting conditions.
This analysis is intended to provide staff with an indication of what areas appear to qualify for inclusion in a redevelopment project(s). KMA categorized each area as being either a "Strong Candidate", "Possible Candidate" or "Unlikely Candidate" for inclusion within a redevelopment project area...Areas identified as Possible Candidates showed evidence of physical and/or economic blighting conditions. However, these conditions were not prevalent to the degree that the area would qualify for inclusion without additional evidence of physical and/or economic blight which could not be observed in the field. In some instances there was evidence of private sector investment. Additional research would be necessary to determine whether or not the private sector investment was on-going or if private sector interest had declined and the remaining blighting conditions would be sufficient to qualify the area for inclusion in a redevelopment project...
...BOEING PLANT (Possible Candidate)
The vacant former Boeing Plant at the corner of Carson Street and Lakewood Boulevard in north-central portion of the City adjacent to the Long Beach Airport makes-up this area...The area contains approximately 187 acres. The buildings are deteriorated and all are vacant...The plant was instrumental in the development and production of various types of aircrafts over the years. However, with the consolidation of the Boeing plants and the defense industry in general, and with the construction of a new aircraft manufacturing facility across the street, this facility has now become obsolete. Due to specific design qualifications, multiple small buildings and overall deterioration, reuse of the existing facilities is unlikely. Additional research on hazardous work contamination and the cost to reuse the site is needed to make a conclusive blight finding.