After receiving a clear mandate from commercial and residential property owners, Long Beach City Council voted unanimously on July 19 to renew and expand the Downtown Property-Based Improvement District (PBID), a special benefit assessment district that will continue to be managed by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) for the next ten years.

The council vote took less than a minute but capped off a comprehensive DLBA strategy and renewal initiative two years in the making. The renewal was the PBID’s third since it was formed by Downtown property owners in 1998. The new district begins on January 1, 2023.

“The renewal of the PBID is a huge win for the entire Downtown Long Beach community,” said Loara Cadavona, DLBA Board Chair. “The City Council’s action to continue the PBID for the next decade will provide much-needed and expanded services at a critical time in our community’s history.”

She added: “we could not have reached this milestone without everyone’s support.”

The expanded PBID — which now includes Downtown territory south of Shoreline Drive, around the Convention Center and major promenade, and an additional block north of Fifth Street in the Pacific Avenue corridor — will build on the services provided by DLBA for the last 25 years and include new elements that align with its Roadmap to Recovery: Strategic Plan. This includes Clean and Safe Teams, economic development, beautification, marketing and events.

“The new PBID plan features several important initiatives focused on economic recovery and quality of life, including supplemental resources for addressing Downtown’s unhoused population,” said Austin Metoyer, DLBA Economic Development & Policy Manager and PBID Renewal Project Manager. “We also plan to continue communicating broadly to our stakeholders about their PBID funds at work.”

Data compiled by DLBA about PBID-related programs revealed the following accomplishments over the past year:

  • 44 million square feet of pressure washing
  • 9,400 graffiti and stickers removed
  • 85,500 pounds of trash collected
  • 52,600 visitors and residents assisted
  • 5,900 businesses assisted
  • $210,000 in business community grants provided

A project two years in the making

Planning for PBID renewal (the current PBID was set to expire in December) began in 2019 when DLBA’s Board Chair and President/CEO created an Organization and Transition Task Force to map out the timing of several key projects, including DLBA’s Updated Strategic Plan. This included a series of programs designed to develop a new PBID management plan to serve and shape the Downtown community for the next 10 years.

In August of 2020, DLBA released a Request For Proposal (RFP) for consulting services to assist in the development of a new Organizational Strategic Plan and PBID Renewal Services. DLBA also assembled a cross-section of current and former board members and city representatives to serve on an RFP Selection Committee.

After receiving proposals from several consultant teams, the Selection Committee identified Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) and NBS Consulting in December of 2020 as the right combination to support DLBA’s initiatives.

In February of 2021, DLBA, PUMA, and a 20-person Strategic Plan Steering Committee set forth over eight months to develop an updated Strategic Plan and a retail and office recruitment strategy for the next five years. The initiative included extensive input from several focus groups with residents and business owners, a district-wide online survey which garnered over 500 responses, and 20, one-on-one meetings with commercial property owners and residents, as well as community and city leaders.

A final draft of the Strategic Plan, presented to the DLBA Board of Directors in September 2021, was approved and adopted.

PBID Management Plan Developed to Meet Property Owner Needs

In October of 2021, DLBA began development of the new Downtown PBID Management Plan. The plan would take guidance from the objectives in the Strategic Plan and provide a dollar amount to support proposed programs.

Between November 2021 and March 2022, DLBA staff, Board members and PUMA met with over 40 property owners in one-on-one meetings, hosted two resident forums and two PBID informational mixers, and attended several neighborhood association meetings to discuss the new programs and services, as well as adjustments in assessment rates.

The project included two state required components which occurred in April through July. First, the petition phase saw a majority of Downtown property owners, weighted by assessment, agree to put the PBID Management Plan to a ballot vote. Second, the City mailed an official assessment ballot with instructions to Downtown property owners and required more than 50 percent who participated to vote YES on renewing, again weighted by assessment.

“We view the Downtown PBID as an investment in the community. As a Downtown property owner, we appreciate the opportunity to leverage these cost-effective resources to further reinforce the safety and cleanliness of the area and attract more people from across the region to discover and enjoy our community,” said Sean Rawson, Co-Founder, Waterford Property Company.

After the new PBID received an affirmative vote of almost 80 percent based on the ballots returned from property owners, tabulated by the city’s independent consultant, City Council voted 8-0 (Councilmember Cindy Allen recused) to renew the PBID.

“The Business Improvement District is a valuable tool to help Downtown grow and prosper,” said Councilmember Mary Zendejas, who was just elected to serve Long Beach’s 1st District — which includes Downtown — for the next four years. “I look forward to continuing this vital partnership with DLBA as part of our overall efforts to support a clean and safe Downtown and help address key needs such as homelessness and economic recovery, which are more important than ever.”

The new PBID Management Plan, DLBA Strategic Plan and other related information and documents are available on the DLBA website.