Need $500 Million To Build Your City?

 In Cities, Future of Infrastructure

Here’s A City That Did.

One of the major themes at each edition of CityAge is finding the dollars to build. We invite private and public sector leaders to look at the stunning accomplishment of the City of Long Beach, California.

Five years ago, Long Beach was facing a major problem.

Its less than 40-year-old City Hall building was deemed functionally obsolete and seismically unsound. Its inventive roof garden had proven to be a major failure; the roof leaked when plants were watered.

City officials found it would cost at least $170 million just to carry out the seismic upgrades. Not to mention, the building was too small and some parts were unusable. To compound matters, there was no political or public will to raise money to pay for the repairs.

Still, against the odds a new city hall, main library and port headquarters will be completed by 2019.

How? Mark Taylor, Chief of Staff of the City of Long Beach, told City Age Florida that a $500-million public-private partnership with a group of private partners unlocked value in the city property and solved the city’s problem.

By adding a 30-story condo-hotel to the city property, along with mixed use space, the P3 agreement created a partnership where the City of Long Beach, the Board of Harbor Commissions and Plenary Properties will design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new city hall, a new public library, new parking facilities, a revitalized park and a new headquarters for the Port of Long Beach.

The breakthrough project won the Gold Award for Best Social Infrastructure Project and the prestigious “project of projects” Grand Prix at the 2016 P3 Awards & Conference for being “a stand-out example of how a complex social P3 project can be delivered… offering a truly exceptional application of P3 structures to achieve public good across multiple dimensions.” You can read more here.

Chief of Staff Taylor said all this will be done without inventing a new revenue stream. Taylor said over its 40-year lifetime, the project would cost just eight per cent more than the $12.6 million which was already being spent to operate the current building.

Copyright CityAge 2017

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