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    Boeing Realty Will Pursue Less-Dense Alternative For Former Plant Site At Lakewood/Carson: Up To 1,400 Residential Units + 11 Acres Parkland, Renamed "Douglas Park"

    (May 4, 2004) -- Boeing Realty Corporation has announced that in response to input received over the last several months, it will pursue a less dense alternative of up to 1,400 residential units, plus 11 acres of parkland, at the former factory site at Lakewood/Carson St...and has renamed the mixed-use development "Douglas Park" to honor the aircraft heritage of the site.

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04

    In a May 4 presentation, Boeing Realty stressed its commitment to "create a new neighborhood that captures the feel and flavor of LB's distinctive and attractive older neighborhoods"...and aspects of existing LB neighborhoods are incorporated in the project, company reps said.Douglas Park, 5/4/04

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04
    In addition to devoting roughly 10% of the property to parkland, company officials displayed plans showing neighborhood-styled streets lined with single family homes, some townhouse units and a smaller number of luxury apartments. The company's decision to cap housing at 1,400 units is a significant downsizing from an original proposal, for the project then dubbed "PacifiCenter" for up to 3,800 housing units -- nearly three times more than now proposed.

    The new plan, which will be called the "Douglas Plan" during upcoming public hearings, calls for 3.3 million square feet of commercial development, including 200,000 sq. ft of retail uses, a 400-room hotel, 11 acres of parkland and up to 1,400 homes.

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04Although the draft Environmental Impact Report circulated earlier this year indicated 2,500 homes was originally preferred, Douglas Park development manager Jim Schulte said "our meetings with our four community task forces and the public comments submitted...made it apparent that [the 1,400 home] plan is preferred over our earlier plan."

    The now-discarded 2,500 unit plan would have allowed up to 1,000 apartments and 1,500 for sale homes. In contrast, the new Douglas Plan would have just 400 luxury apartments and 1,000 homes, a company release said.

    Douglas Park logo, 5/4/04
    Boeing Realty also unveiled a new, stylized logo for Douglas Park reflecting the aircraft heritage of the former Douglas (later McDonnell-Douglas) plant which occupied the site. DeDe Soto, Development Manager for Douglas Park, said the public's strongly expressed desire to commemorate the history of the site led to the development of the Douglas Park name.

    Commercial district.Douglas Park, 5/4/04

    One of the residential areas.Douglas Park, 5/4/04

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04
    Retail district.

    The 3d model, viewed from the south, looking north.Douglas Park, 5/4/04

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04
    The 3d model, viewed from Carson St. looking south.

    Douglas Park, 5/4/04
    The company also said that the 16-foot-tall giant globe that once stood over the Douglas Aircraft door on Lakewood Blvd. -- an icon instantly recognizable to locals -- has been missing since 1962...and Boeing Realty is searching for it and asking for help from former plant employees and community members.

    The 3-D model indicates some version of the globe (either the original or a re-creation) is contemplated for inclusion in the project.

    Noting that the former name "PacifiCenter" reflected the once high-flying dot-com market, Ms. Soto said when the dot-com market faded "we had the opportunity to deliver what many of our neighbors said they wanted -- a new community that honors this site's remarkable past. We actually heard the Douglas Park name first from others, and thought it was perfect for the site." The company said the new name reflects the new direction Boeing Realty's planners have taken over the last two years.DeDe Soto, 5/4/04

    "We have actually gone around town measuring sidewalks, enjoying the parks and photographing homes," said lead planner Ken Nilmeier (McLarand, Vasquez, Emsiek & Partners). "That has led to a plan that reflects Long Beach's heritage, with boulevards, streetscapes, parks and an ambience that the city's residents will find familiar and comfortable," he said in the company release.

    Douglas Park news event, 5/4/04
    Among those attending were (photo left) neighborhood activists Herb Levi (Hanbury Estates community, east of Clark Ave.), John Royce (Cal Hts.) and (not pictured) Carol Soccio (LB realtor).

    After viewing the presentation, Mr. Royce commented: "I think that the development pattern in itself is going back in history because we've been developing so-unlike this for so long, that this is a return to pre-war development, where the whole development is a community. It's not a business park and a housing tract and everything being disconnected...This whole development, to me, has a sense of community in itself and it fits within our sense of community that I appreciate about living in Long Beach."

    Mr. Levi added: "Anyone living in Lakewood Village should understand that because that was always one of the things that attracted me...We wanted to live in Lakewood Village because you can walk to everything...from kindergarten to junior college, churches, everything's within walking distance." [adding later] "I think [the development] has great promise, if they're going to do it the way it's proposed...If they're going to do this, then they'll have a good chance of having a business to come in and possibly to have persons who can actually possess a residence, which I think is the idea of mixed use, having people live near where they work, that's ideal."

    Ms. Soccio commented: "I think it's an excellent plan. They've put a lot of thought into it. They've listened to the community...The 1,400 [housing units] cuts back on the number of apartments. It also pushes back the residential area from the airport...Other people who have put up resistance to it have said, 'well we don't want more people to complain about airplane noise.' So hopefully this pushes the housing element back far enough [so] that won't beocme an issue....It's a beautiful concept and [I'm] totally excited about it.

    Reached for comment by, Gene Lassers, a Lakewood Country Club area homeowner who has led opposition to earlier project designs said the changes "are headed in the right direction" but "as far as I'm concerned, my goal is still zero housing...and the apartments are just not acceptable."

    5th district Councilwoman Jackie Kell told in an email, "I believe this shows a continuing commitment by Boeing to work with all the various surrounding communities in addressing concerns about the project as outlined in their previous preferred plan. I know Boeing, the many community Task Force members, as well as those who contributed opinions to the draft EIR are working hard to ensure that the final project is one to be proud of and will be of lasting benefit to Long Beach and the region."

    City Hall's Planning Commission will now review the project, expected in summer, with City Council hearings to follow thereafter.

    Boeing Realty has mailed roughly 9,000 brochures to area residents entitled "The Transformation of the Boeing Plant." The brochures (which began arriving on May 4) unveil the project's new name as Douglas Park and explain the project's evolution.

    Boeing Realty has also launched a web site providing information on the Douglas Plan at (Caveat: it's douglaspark.ORG, not .com).

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