The vacant Long Beach Armory, built by the California National Guard in the 1930s, could be revived as the centerpiece of a new development centered on housing and the performing arts. 

Landscaped walkway at the Armory Arts CollectiveStudio One Eleven

Earlier this month, the Long Beach City Council voted to initiate an exclusive negotiating agreement with a consortium of local organizations seeking to reuse the three-story building at 854 E. 7th Street.  The proposal from Gundry Partners, Pacific6, and St. Anthony High School - called the Armory Arts Collective - would convert the historic Armory into:

  • 11,400 square feet of offices, meeting rooms, and studios;
  • a 7,043-square-foot performing arts center and gallery space; and
  • an 8,258-square-foot performing arts garden.

Plans also call for the construction of a new four-story apartment building on the property's parking lot, consisting of 86 residential units.  A presentation given to the City Council states that 40 of the apartments would be set aside for households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, although the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that a city official later clarified that the exact affordability level has yet to be set.

View of the Long Beach Armory from 7th Street
City of Long Beach

Renderings of the project, which is being designed by Studio One Eleven, depict the new construction as a contemporary low-rise building clad in metal panels, while the Armory is depicted with new murals and public green space that interfaces with neighboring Gumbiner Park.

The vote by the City Council does not approve the project, however.  Over the coming 90 days, staff will conduct due diligence of the Arts Collective proposal.  Should staff determine that the project is viable, a long-term lease agreement will be presented to the Council for consideration.

Gundry Partners, which does business as Howard CDM, is a Long Beach-based development and construction firm.

Location of the Long Beach Armory at 854 E 7th Street
City of Long Beach

Pacific6, which was founded by a former Molina Healthcare executive and five other local business leaders, is behind the restoration of the historic Breakers Hotel and Ocean Center Building in Downtown Long Beach.

The third partner on the Arts Collective project - St. Anthony High School - is located across the street from the Armory in Long Beach's East Village neighborhood, which is also home to the Museum of Latin American Art and the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum.