Last month, a pair of tower cranes took their place in the Long Beach skyline, as a display of continued work on the $520-million revamp of the Long Beach Civic Center.

The first phase of the project wil create a pair of mid-rise buildings, designed by SOM, which will serve as the new Long Beach City Hall and the headquarters of the Port of Long Beach.

The replacement City Hall will be an 11-story, 270,000-square-foot building along Magnolia Avenue containing a 250-seat council chamber, meeting rooms, office space and various government services.  It replaces the existing City Hall, a 15-story brutalist tower completed in the 1970s.

The Port headquarters will be situated in a similar 11-story structure, fronting Ocean Boulevard. 

Both buildings are intended to be significantly more environmentally-friendly than the existing Civic Center, employing features such as photovoltaic energy, natural light and under-floor air distribution.

On the east side of the Civic Center campus, construction is also beginning for the new home of the Long Beach's Main Public Library, which will relocate slightly north to the corner of 1st Street and Pacific Avenue.  The current library site will be incorporated into a reconfigured and expanded Lincoln Park.

The development team, which is operating under a joint venture known as Penary-Edgemoor Civic Partners, has also secured the rights to build a series of mixed-use buildings within the Civic Center.  Entitlements would allow for a boutique hotel and up to 1,000 residents in a series of buildings, one of which could be a 36-story tower.

A timeline for the mixed-use component of the project is not clear.

Though investment has taken a longer to return to Downtown Long Beach than in other urban nodes throughout Los Angeles County, recent months have seen a noticeable uptick.  Work was completed for the $70-million Current development earlier this year, and a follow-up to the project will create the City's tallest building.  Closer to the Civic Center, work is now underway for an apartment complex at Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue, while a 25-story hotel tower is planned nearby.