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Mayor, City Manager & Developer DDR All Smiles At Construction Kick-Off Ceremony for "Pike at Rainbow Harbor"

QWB Pix 1
Artist drawings on this page, courtesy DDR

QWB Mayor & Mgr w/ confetti(May 14, 2002) Confetti flew, the Mayor beamed and the City Manager and developer DDR's officials were all smiles at a gala kick-off ceremony for construction of the Pike at Rainbow Harbor today.

"I feel like pinching myself to know this is really happening today! I can't tell you how excited I am by this," an exuberant Mayor Beverly O'Neill told a crowd of invited city officials, business leaders and local media.

Invoking images and icons of LB's former Pike amusement area, developer DDR said in a written release,

DDR QWB pix 3"Like the Pike of old, the Pike at Rainbow Harbor will feature many cafes and public gathering places and become a vital element in the day-to-day life of Long Beach, drawing visitors from throughout the region."

The company release continued:

DDR QWB pix 2"The cinema will include state-of-the-art THX digital sound, automated projection, all stadium seating with high-backed chairs, gourmet concession areas and other amenities. Gameworks is a 40,000 square foot entertainment destination, the ultimate party place where guests can eat, drink, party and play. The new GameWorks at the Pike at Rainbow Harbor will feature a full service restaurant, with a fantastic menu and casual decor; a cool, high energy bar serving signature martinis and specialty cocktails, interactive games, and state-of-the-art bowling lanes."

DDR QWB pix 4"DDR has signed agreements with California Pizza Kitchen, Harry's Bar, National Sports Grill, Carnival Club, Mai Tai, Guaymas, Killer Shrimp, Prego, Gladstone's, Great Steak & Potato, Subway, Coldstone Creamery, Daphne's Greek Cafe, Islands Burgers and Quizno's."

DDR QWB pix 5In its written release, DDR indicated that opening is expected in 2003, and DDR's Rod Chisessi indicated from the podium that a 15 month construction period could put the opening in roughly September, 2003.

QWB May 14 ceremony groundbreakingThe event, which took place inside a tent on the NW corner of Pine Ave. and Shoreline Drive, included a ceremonial earth-turning and comments by LB officialdom and DDR representatives. We provide sights and transcript excerpts, below.

Mayor Beverly O'Neill

Mayor O'Neill at QWB May 14 ceremony Mayor O'Neill: ...I've never seen so many sign offs, negotiations, committee meetings, public scrutiny, economic and theater and financing setbacks and the delays that came from legal setbacks. So this has gone on for a long time, but it's behind us! Isn't that exciting? [applause] And we can now look forward to developing the largest waterfront complex in southern California. It's really a defining moment for the city of Long Beach, because this is the final piece of the puzzle that was initiated ten years ago...And I can remember when I was first Mayor in 1994, [now retired City Manager] Jim Hankla and I would look out the window and say, see that parking lot out there? That's the most desirable piece of property in southern California. And it's going to have something on it that's going to make us all proud.

And finally, after I'll say 12 years of active planning, and probably 15-20 years of bringing things together, because people would say, why do we need all these hotels on Ocean Blvd.? Well, that's because the Convention Center wasn't finished. Now we need more hotels. So it takes a lot of time to put all this together. So no other community in southern California can offer the combination of venues that will be located here. And once the Pike at Rainbow Harbor is completed, Carnival Cruises will be here attracting thousands of people to the city. People will have an opportunity to visit this Pike, the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and many of our outstanding restaurants that we have right around here.

And we shouldn't forget the number of new residents that are coming. As you're standing here and you look up and see the Camden Project, the "Park at Harbour View,"...and look at the number of people that's going to add to the downtown area. They're going to be able to walk to the downtown, walk to the Pike, and all of the things that are going to be available.

So in addition to the sales tax, and the lease revenue that the city will be realizing, one of the major features of this is it's going to create hundreds of jobs...

So with the new developments going on from the downtown, and CityPlace under construction, that also is a DDR project, our community is going under a massive revitalization that will change our landscape really forever.

Long Beach will never be the city it was twenty years ago. But cities should not stand still. If they stand still, they fall behind and Long Beach is moving ahead like no other community in California."

City Manager Henry Taboada

City Manager Taboada at QWB May 14 ceremonyCity Manager Henry Taboada: Well good morning. Do you believe it? [shouts, yeah]. What a glorious day it is...

My task this morning is to thank all of the folks who have had so much to do with this project, and to share with you my joy, and my gratitude, for all that has happened and for all that is about to happen.

First to the Mayor. I couldn't thank the Mayor enough. She was there from the beginning and she has persevered along with staff, at every turn of this project, and has been steadfast in her support, and has never wavered...

I want to thank the City Council, both past and present...but this Council at every turn took courageous steps...and held firm in their belief that this was the right project.

QWB Shannon & MahoodYou know, we kid attorneys a lot. We give them a lot grief, and they give us some back. But I tell you, this project wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for our City Attorney [Bob Shannon] and his team, Heather Mahood (both photo, left), Jim McCabe and the rest of the City Attorney team who also stuck with us through thick and thin, and thank you Bob for all of that support. [applause]

Now people think that the financial aspect of this just comes together somehow magically behind the scenes and the construction is really all there is to it. But before there is a project there has to be financing, and I want to give my special thanks to a good colleague and friend of mine...Bob Torrez and his finance team...[applause]

Now City Managers, as Jim Hankla will tell you, are only as good the people they work for and with, and I work for and with a great management team consisting of all of my senior management staff...and all of my department heads who've persevered through this, and former staff like Bob Paternoster who along with [QW Bay project advisory committee member] Phil Infelise was instrumental in bringing this project to where it is today...

What can I say about DDR? Rod Chisessi. What a bulldog...There have been times when I wondered what this guy was made of. But he's held on, he's done his job, and...[this project] going to be profitable for DDR and for the city of Long Beach. Eric Mallory...Someone who had a vision about this project and...gave us courage to keep going with this project.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't give special thanks to just a small group of people. First of all, Dean Oliver here...On a piece of a napkin, basically, after a lunch we went out here and we designed the parking structure that's going to be the mainstay of this project and who taught me a lot and kept me focused on this project...[credits others not mentioned here]

Let me close by saying to that portly gentleman at 6th and Pine [Press-Telegram location, apparent reference to veteran columnist Tom Hennessy, currently losing weight] who reported as recently as two weeks ago that this project didn't pass the smell test. [light laughter] Get over it, Tom. It's time to smell the roses. [laughter] Thank you. [applause]

DDR's Rod Chisessi indicated some construction work had already been done, starting in November, 2001 with installation of a large storm drain line to service area and new water line. "We have foundation and grading permits in hand and building permits ready to be pulled," Mr. Chisessi said.

DDR QWB pix 6"There's going to be plenty of open spaces for walking. There's going to be a 'town square' in the middle of the project...that'll be programmed from time to time for great, fun public events," he added.

DDR QWB pix 7"It'll take about 15 months to complete it once we get the equipment out here and it'll open, we feel, right around September of 2003."

DDR's local spokesman Jeff Adler told that in the next couple of weeks demolition will begin, and after demolition is over, very shortly thereafter probably in early June sometime, grading will begin and construction will begin by the end of the month.

Carroll & K. ArdizzoneAmong those spotted at the event was 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll, chatting with JetBlue West Coast Opportunities Manager and Airport Advisory Commission chair Kristy Ardizzone.

Hagan & ShannonAnd also spotted in the crowd was American Airlines Managing Director of Corporate Affairs, Dan Hagan (photo right), seen having a momentary non-privileged encounter with LB City Attorney Robert Shannon (photo left). (Our apologies for bad angle of man in the middle, LB public relations whiz Jeff Adler, whose firm is doing work locally for DDR's Pike at Rainbow Harbor project and AA.)

QWB Councilman Shulz.Also present, 9th district Councilman Jerry Shultz, in a contemplative moment, and (sorry, not shown) 1st district Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal.

Vice Mayor Dan Baker's office told us he was unable to attend due to medical attention needed following a recent traffic accident. Former 6th district Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Doris Topsy-Elvord was also in the crowd, as well as retired LB City Manager James C. Hankla and current Assistant City Manager Jerry Miller.

Ed & Ruth ShikadaAlso attending, City Hall staff power couple Public Works Director Ed Shikada and wife Ruth Shikada (also a city staffer), seen carefully perusing Pike at Rainbow Harbor materials.

Randy Gordon at QWB groundbreakingRandy Gordon from the LB Area Chamber of Commerce is interviewed by City Hall's Channel 21.

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