Mysterious Historic Facades Attract Attention

July 19, 2012

Editor's Note: Today Patch introduces a new blogger, Belmont Heights resident, small business owner ( and Long Beach historical expert Maureen Neeley. She will take us on regular adventures into our local history, examining that building you always wonder about and telling us about its past. Feel free to ask her questions in our comments below.

Like an archeological dig, a worker chipped away in June at the slatted façade which had hung over the Latin Barbershop and Pho Hong Phut Restaurant for the past 60 years. Underneath were clues to an Anaheim Street of the past, one of the oldest and longest streets in what was once called Zaferia in East Long Beach.

Built in the 1920s, these two buildings located on the corner of Coronado (at 3235 and 3243 Anaheim) are getting a makeover, courtesy of the (now-defunct) Redevelopment Agency (RDA). The funds were allocated years ago and the project is finally getting underway with Howard CDM, contractor, and Interstices Architects.

To enhance the façade, the first order of business was to remove the slatted siding that, according to permits, was probably first installed in the 1950s, then replaced in 1978. The siding served two purposes: 1) To unify the storefronts; and, 2) Unwittingly preserve the signage posted there when the storefronts held Andy’s Liquor Store and Chere Amie Beauty Salon. Over the past 90 years, this corner has been the business address for Bear State Lumber Co., various insurance agents and lawyers, as well as a drug store and a restaurant.

In enhancing the façade today, the original scored concrete design over Louis’ Latin Barber Shop is now seeing daylight again. Although this building was erected in 1920, it appears to have outwitted the 1933 Earthquake which decimated so much of Anaheim’s commercial structures. With detailed pilasters (I think of them as attached “faux” columns) and a band of stylized fringe, the old storefront façade is much more interesting than the band of molded stucco found next door, and certainly an improvement on the diagonal green slats.

What is it about old buildings? People are fascinated with the real thing. This façade improvement has garnered much interest, with people stopping to take pictures and wonder at what else might be unearthed on Anaheim Street.

A few miles to the west, a similar renovation uncovered another façade. This one was on the old Cytron Furniture Company at 425 E. 4th Street in the East Village. Essentially, what started as new construction ended up as a mysterious façade incorporated into a new, hip design.

Some might say, well, we can recreate any of these designs. Why not just make our new buildings look old? To that, I say, “Really?” We all know it’s not just about the design, it’s about the intrigue, the discovery, the unearthing of times past and the telling of the tale of hopes and dreams of these original builders, architects and store owners. Creating a Disneyland of old style architecture doesn’t cut it. Luckily, Long Beach has not demolished all of its old buildings. There is plenty of stock just waiting to be chipped away, unpeeled and uncovered. What building will be next?

Mayor Bob Foster Talks To Small Business Owners

July 11, 2012 11:15 am

By Ashleigh Ruhl

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster is making his way to various business association meetings this year to help encourage and educate small business owners about the services and opportunities available in the city.

Last month, he attended the Naples Island Business Association meeting as well as the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance meeting, and Foster said his goal is to eventually reach out to all business associations in Long Beach.

“I said in the State of the City in January that I wanted to focus on small business and entrepreneurship,” Foster said this week. “Small business is the engine of the economy and we are trying to put as much focus on trying to assist small businesses or entrepreneurs starting up or already here. I want them to be aware of what resources are available, and I want them to know we are here to help.”

Foster emphasized that small businesses are the backbone of the economy because those businesses create jobs and ignite entrepreneurial spirit. He said he hopes to help entrepreneurial spirit flourish in Long Beach.

During the meeting in Naples last month, Foster answered questions from business owners on a range of topics — from how businesses can compete for city contracts to the loss of the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency to city budget concerns.

The mayor focused largely on talking about how the city will be making a concerted effort to contract out more city services to save money yet provide the same or better services to residents. Small businesses will be able to compete for those contracts.

“We are making a big effort this year to contract out some services,” Foster said during the meeting. “We can fill that budget gap by moving these services to the private sector. I encourage you as small business owners to register on the city’s small business list because there will be opportunities for contracts with the city.”

Foster answered questions and also took time to listen to business owners’ concerns about homeless people in the business district, complications in the process of opening a business and more. When one business owner asked if Foster would consider running for re-election again, Foster said he was keeping the option of running with a write-in election open.

“Going to these meetings helps me because I get to ask them (the business owners) what they think,” Foster said. “They are the ones signing people’s pay checks and we want to facilitate their businesses. Despite all the regulations they have to comply with, we want to be facilitators.”

Since he was elected as mayor, Foster said work has already been done to make the city more business friendly. But, he added, more can be done to improve the process of opening a business and he is committed to making sure the process is smoother and that business owners aren’t jumping through unnecessary hoops.

Business owners can find details and register on Long Beach Certified Small Business Enterprises List at Mayor Foster said business owners with questions or comments should feel free to call his office at 570-6801.

East Anaheim Street Business Alliance Meeting with Pacific Gateway Investment.

Tuesday, May 22nd starting at 12:00 PM and ending at 2:00 PM PDT.
RSVP to 494-3800 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cost $12

Business Improvement District Renewal, Formation Activity Picking Up Citywide

Proponents Say BIDs Have Positive Impact On Business, Neighborhoods

By Tiffany Rider - Senior Writer

June 19, 2012

Long Beach business and community leaders are working with their councilmembers on either renewing or forming improvement districts to provide programs and services in a struggling economy.

The May unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 10.8 percent of Californians are out of work. This number may be higher due to an unknown number of individuals who have stopped looking for work. In Long Beach, unemployment for May was reported as 12.2 percent, or approximately 28,800 people out of work, but the real number is probably considerably higher.

Cities across the state have also been impacted by the loss of redevelopment agencies, which used tax increment funding to help remove blight and improve business corridors. In this struggle, cities such as Long Beach are working to provide as many economic development opportunities to their communities as possible.

One economic and community development tool being utilized in cities up and down the state are business improvement districts (BIDs), which are areas in which businesses pay a fee or tax to the area’s managing nonprofit. That nonprofit agency and its board of directors are charged to manage the structure of the BID and the implementation of economic and community development support services and programs above what is provided by the city.

In 2009, a study conducted by the RAND Corporation revealed that Los Angeles’ business improvement districts can impact crime and youth violence levels. According to a summary of the report, “Such activities can contribute to community-level attributes that might reduce crime and youth violence by increasing informal social control, reducing visible signs of disorder and blight, improving order maintenance, and providing enriched employment opportunities by facilitating overall improvements in the local business environment.”

Following the California Constitution, BIDs are formed by a vote of the business owners within the designated area. The election process and cast ballots are tallied and certified by the city, which then authorizes the nonprofit agency to collect the tax or fees either directly or through the county assessor’s tax rolls.

The fees collected in business improvement district are to suppose to help fund board-approved, business-related activities and improvements, which benefit the businesses within the district. “Activities, programs and improvements range from street fairs to business promotions to installing street lighting and cleaning sidewalks,” according to the City of Long Beach Web site. “By pooling private resources, business and property owners collectively pay for activities they could not afford on an individual basis. Today there are hundreds of BIDs in the state, eight of which are located in Long Beach.”

Downtown PBID Election Expected To Begin Today, June 19

Property owners in Downtown Long Beach are in the process of renewing their property based improvement district (PBID), which is managed by the nonprofit Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA).

In preparation for the legally required election to renew the PBID – and add residential property owners for the first time – the DLBA distributed petitions to each of the property owners within the proposed district. Each property owner has a vote in the process, which is weighted based on the assessment amount to be paid by the property owner. The DLBA collected more than 50 percent of the weighted PBID vote in the petition process, and submitted the petitions to the City of Long Beach the week of June 4, according to the agency.

“The DLBA created and sent an individualized petition packet to every affected property owner as a means of not only collecting support, but also educating our stakeholders,” DLBA President and CEO Kraig Kojian said in a press release. “We’re pleased to see the community’s support of this important initiative, and we will continue to coordinate additional outreach efforts to educate and inform all Downtown property owners thru the mail-in ballot process.”

The results of the petition process, which were reviewed by Jim Fisk, the city’s business improvement district development project manager, will be reported to the Long Beach City Council at tonight’s June 19 meeting. In addition, the council will consider adopting a resolution of intention to form the Downtown Long Beach PBID, allowing ballots to be issued to each individual parcel owner, authorizing the city manager to vote in favor and return the city’s ballot and setting a public hearing for August 7 to count the ballots and either ratify or reject the results.

The city’s vote is for property it owns within the proposed district. The total assessment for those properties is estimated at $389,493 in the first year – $172,710 of which is paid by Developers Diversified Realty as required by its lease of the Pike property. The balance of the assessment will be paid out of the city’s Civic Center Fund.

First formed in 1998, the Downtown Long Beach PBID was renewed in 2003 for a 10-year term. The current renewal process is also for a 10-year term beginning January 2013. The PBID’s services and programs are outlined in management plan, which is available for review online at

Youngest Business Improvement District Plans For 2013

The East Anaheim Street Business Alliance (EASBA), the nonprofit agency that manages the city’s youngest business improvement district, is currently working on several projects.

The EASBA is finalizing plans for installing security cameras along the business corridor, which will be available to the Long Beach Police Department for surveillance purposes. In addition, gateway signs on Anaheim Street at Junipero Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway are being planned to “further brand the area and remind those who drive by what a valuable resource and unique community exists in East Long Beach,” said Rod Wilson, director of the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance and CEO of Pacific Research.

The organization is also printing its 2012-2013 Business Directory, which will highlight shopping, dining and professional services available within the district. The BID boundaries are Junipero Avenue to the west, Pacific Avenue to the east, 11th Street to the south and 14th Street to the north.

“As the newest and youngest BID in Long Beach, EASBA continues to work hard to provide valuable services to our 500-business membership,” Wilson said. “Our street banner campaign begins its second year in building identity and giving those visiting the area a reason to stop, shop and dine in East Long Beach. . . . EASBA continues to showcase the local history of the area and build research about Zaferia and the surrounding neighborhoods. EASBA continues to be a pipeline of information for local businesses and residents and works hard to give the community a stronger voice.”

The next monthly meeting of the EASBA will feature Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster as a guest speaker. The meeting is June 26 at noon at the Long Beach Playhouse, 5201 E. Anaheim St. For more information, visit

Proposals Submitted For Potential BID In 9th Council District

“In the last two years since taking office, we have made great strides in building our neighborhood and community groups and it is now time to bring the small business owners to the table,” Floyd Hampton Livingston, district community organizer for 9th District Councilmember Steven Neal, said via e-mail. “With that said, the council office has reached out to the small business owners and property owners in the 9th District to form a business association.”

This association is the North Long Beach Business Alliance (NLBBA), which has been meeting on the last Wednesday of every month at Houghton Park since December 2011. To further the mission of the NLBBA, Councilmember Neal requested district funds be allocated for the purpose of hiring a consultant to review the feasibility of forming a BID along Atlantic Avenue, between South Street and East Artesia Boulevard, and transforming the group into a nonprofit organization.

According to the city’s BID manager, a request for proposal process has been conducted and received 57 inquiries but only four proposals. One of the proposals is from a local company, and another has local ties, Fisk said. “We’re still in the process of analyzing the proposals, and then we will set up meetings and a little committee to evaluate the best fit – the most qualified and cost effective,” he said.

According to Livingston, the interview panel, which is made up of businesses, property owners, city staff and residents, will begin the interview process in June with the hopes of selecting a consultant in July. Once a consultant is selected, a feasibility study will be conducted to determine if a BID would be successful and what type of BID would best fit the community. “If successful, the North Long Beach Business Alliance will join Andy Street Multi-family Improvement Association and Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association as the newest business improvement district in Uptown,” he said.

6th Council District Explores Forming Multiple Improvement Districts

On May 22, the city council voted to allow 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews to reallocate $225,000 in district funds specified for infrastructure to community benefits for the purpose of exploring the feasibility of forming three BIDs in his district.

Due to a surplus in the Uplands Oil Fund last year, each council district was allocated approximately $16,000 for community benefits and $500,000 for infrastructure. The reallocated funds would pay for hiring consultants to conduct feasibility studies for BIDs in Cambodia Town, on Pacific Avenue and on Long Beach Boulevard, according to 6th Council District Chief of Staff John Edmond.

“Most of these PBIDs and BIDs have clean and safe programs, and also marketing and promotions,” Edmond said. “One of the things businesses need, in order to thrive, [is that] the area has to be aesthetically pleasing and it has to be a safe place to go. . . . The other thing [about BIDs] is these things are self-controlled. It’s not the councilman or a city bureaucrat deciding what to spend the [assessment] on because its basically a self-imposed fee, and they vote every year to do it. It’s a manifest destiny.”

Plans for a potential Long Beach Boulevard BID in the 6th District will be discussed at a meeting to be scheduled. The BID idea for Pacific Avenue, from Pacific Coast Highway to Willow Street, would be an ideal addition to the $4 million investment of new medians constructed and bike paths in the works, Edmond said.

“I think of Pacific Avenue as a success, however we really need to make it more pedestrian friendly,” Edmond said. “We may not have a lot of vacancies, but we may not have a lot of tenants that promote their services or amenities for the residents who live in Wrigley. So, hopefully, by having a cleaner and safer environment, and having marketing, we will be able to attract better tenants and thereby make that a corridor that is more vibrant.”

Richer San, first vice chair of Cambodia Town Inc., has been working on the development of a BID along the roughly one-mile corridor on Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero avenues. Several donors, including Union Bank of California, have pitched in to help fund the process to explore and possibly form a BID, San said. So far the group has raised $17,500 in private dollars.

“We are trying the best we can because we believe the business improvement district is a good project. It has been proven to be very successful,” San said. “Because of the economy, we haven’t been able to get it done yet. But we are going to make sure it does happen because we believe in that. We have seen these projects in the Downtown, in Bixby Knolls, in Belmont Shore, on 4th Street and even our neighbor here, the East Anaheim Street business improvement district. . . . We have been talking a lot with the established business improvement districts for their help as well.”

By Karen Robes Meeks, Staff

05/21/2012 08:08:56 PM PDT

LONG BEACH -- City Councilman Gary DeLong and Don Caldwell, development project manager of Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, will be guest speakers for today's meeting with the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance.

Admission is $12 and includes a buffet lunch prepared by Moon Dance Catering of Long Beach.

The event will be at noon at the Long Beach Playhouse at 5021 E. Anaheim St. RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text4339+'<\/a>'; //--> or 562-494-3800.

For news and updates, go to

- Karen Robes Meeks