Upcoming, The Uptown Retail Center has taken a major step forward with Westland’s purchase of a vacant lot at the development’s site. The North Long Beach project will be built on Atlantic Ave turning Westland’s Harding Plaza and the newly-purchased adjacent half block into a new and unique shopping center.
The Uptown will reinvigorate the neighborhood providing sit-down and fast-casual restaurants with outdoor seating and diverse architecture that creates an inviting atmosphere. Westland worked with the city and the local community to make sure The Uptown provides space for the businesses the area needs.
The project is part of a larger renaissance for the under-served community spearheaded by councilman Rex Richardson. In recent years the community has enjoyed a new library with a community garden, the opening of the areas only bank, infrastructure upgrades, and the modernization of the local high school. The Uptown is one of three commercial developments that will serve the area.
At a city meeting, residents said they were interested in small local businesses rather than big franchises. “They want local mum and pop shops,” said Manny Bukiet, our Commercial Leasing Manager. “Right now, the area doesn’t have anything like this. The locals are having to travel to other areas.”
Four new buildings will be constructed with a unique design that will include a shipping container structure, a two-story barn, and a concrete and glass building.
The new 36,000 square feet shopping center will include the transformation of Harding Plaza, a Westland retail property since 1997. A laundromat will be demolished while the other original Harding Plaza buildings will maintain their tenants and receive facade improvements to match the new additions.
Project Manager and Building Designer Sarah Newman designed The Uptown. Talking about the variety of building styles she said: “We couldn’t do an all shipping container complex because it wouldn’t blend with the current structures so we needed another design.” She chose to mix the shipping container structure with a barn and another metal and glass building to create a mix that both contrast and compliment each other. “Bringing it all together as a cohesive project was a fun challenge.”
Tenants expected to move in include BurgerIM, Tierra Mia Coffee is in leasing negotiations, and Westland’s neighbor Long Beach Beer Lab will open a second location - becoming the first brewery in North Long Beach.
Now the Retail Division will continue to pre-lease the space, make final design tweaks to fit the tenant’s needs, and file permits with the city. The project expects to break ground in 4 to 6 months.