After sitting vacant for more than a quarter-century, a prominent site in Downtown Long Beach is poised for a large commercial development.

Earlier this week, the Long Beach Business Journal reported that the Long Beach City Council has approved a proposal from developer American Life, LLC to construct a 25-story hotel tower at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue.  The project would include up to 427 guest rooms, 19,000 square feet of meeting rooms and event space, 8,000 square feet of restaurant space and various guest amenities such as a pool and spa deck.

The approximately one-acre site at 100 Ocean Boulevard was purchased by the Seattle-based real estate firm from the city for $7 million.  Under its agreement with the city, American Life will be allowed to retain 50% of all transient occupancy tax revenue generated by the project over the course of 20 years - estimated at $27 million.

The property, which sits across the street from the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, was once occupied by the historic Jergins Trust Building, which was demolished in 1988.  It still contains the south entrance to the Jergins Tunnel, an underground passageway built during the 1920s to provide safe pedestrian access to the beach.  American Life has agreed to design the project to allow for public access to the tunnel, which was closed in 1967 during the widening of Ocean Boulevard.

The City of Long Beach has also retained the right to terminate the agreement in the event of dissatisfaction with the developer's chosen hotel brand, unless a four-star operator is selected.