|(Mar. 29, 2019, 5:39 p.m.) -- The LB City College's governing Board of Trustees has extended the due diligence escrow period on the prospective sale of its property parcel at 3320-3340 Los Coyotes Diagonal and 3325 Palo Verde Ave. (south of Wardlow, currently site of medical office buildings and a church south of "Ralphs") at the request of the prospective buyer, Olson Urban Housing, LLC, which describes itself on its website as "a leader in providing affordable urban housing throughout California." The due diligence period was originally set to expire in September 2018.
Following a February 27, 2019 closed session of LBCC's Board of Trustees (the property owner's decisionmaking body, agendized to give its negotiator instructions re price and terms of payment for sale of the property), LBCC Board of Trustees president Sunny Zia reported in open session that on a 4-0 vote (with the "0" vote abstaining) the Board voted to approve a request by Olson Urban Housing LLC to amend the purchase and sale agreement to extend the due diligence period until May 30, 2019 for the purchase of the LBCC owned site. (The purchase price was previously indicated to be $16.625 million.)
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The Olson Company is a Seal Beach-based firm whose "About Us" webpage is subtitled "Redefining Urban Housing" and states in part:
...The Company was founded in 1988 to assist cities in solving the critical shortage of affordable housing in urban areas...Recognized as a leader in providing affordable urban housing throughout California, The Olson Company is dedicated to developing outstanding and long-lasting partnerships with the cities with which we work. Our approach to problem solving continues to be successful because we listen to the suggestions of city planners and officials and ultimately recognize that we are all committed to the same goal -- serving the local community...We are passionate about our pursuit of providing transit-oriented housing, mixed-use/live-work, artists lofts, brownstones, and neighborhood small lot detached developments. Our commitment is to improve the local neighborhood experience by capturing the best that exists in each neighborhood socially and architecturally.
The company has completed two residential projects in LB to date: Promenade Walk in Downtown Long Beach and Renaissance Walk along Atlantic Avenue. The LCD/PV property is within an ELB area developed after WWII as vehicle-friendly low density single family residential area.
3320-3340 Los Coyotes Diagonal and 3325 Palo Verde Ave. are currently zoned Institutional, allowing single-family residential (that would match the surrounding neighborhood) but not multi-family residential. In March 2018, after a contentious public process, the City Council voted to advance new Land Use Element maps, including a 5th Council district map that revised city staff's desired "placetype" designation that would have allowed mixed uses (residential above commercial) to the "community commercial" placetype that doesn't include mixed commercial/residential uses. The new LUE maps won't become legally operative until the City completes an Environmental Impact Report process with Council voted approval expected before the end of the year...but until then the site's current Institutional zoning remains in effect.
Responding to an inquiry by LBREPORT.com, Richard de la Torre, Community Information Officer with the City of LB's Development Services Dept. said (March 28) that "no formal application for development has been filed with the City [and] the City has no plans to change the zoning without a formal request from the property owner."
With no details yet on exactly what the Olson Company may propose if it completes purchase of the property, it's unclear to what extent, if at all, recently-enacted or pending Sacramento legislation related to housing and locally allowable land uses might affect proposed or permitted uses of the site.
The Olson Company's website indicates its eight-member Board of Directors includes retired LB City Manager James Hankla and retired L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe.
The Olson Company's VP of Development, Doris Nguyen (who in 2018 hosted previous meetings inviting the views of neighboring residents) didn't respond to an emailed inquiry from LBREPORT.com today (March 29) seeking an update on the company's plans for the property if it completes the purchase.
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