The last time we reported on the Shoreline Gateway building was in July of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Intrepid construction crews were working on the half-completed skyscraper seven days a week under strict COVID protocols. This was only one of several major challenges the project faced during its 18-year journey from conception to completion. Today’s finished building, now at 80% occupancy, stands as an example of state-of-the-art architecture, and perseverance as well.
Jason Silver is Vice President and Director of Development for the Ledcor Group, which teamed up with AndersonPacific LLC, Qualico, and Lantower Residential to create the Shoreline Gateway building. For the last eight years he was the communications hub between the building’s designers, financial backers, lawyers, engineers, contractors, property managers and more. He had a hand in every aspect of the building’s construction, from its design concept to the selection of shower heads. “It’s like being a parent,” said Silver. “It’s exhausting but you live for the great moments, such as the Grand Opening.”
Throughout the project, Silver’s youthful spirit and love of architecture kept him on point. “I think of my job as Legos on steroids,” he said with a smile.
Silver gave us a quick tour of the building, which is the newest high-rise on the West Coast and is Long Beach’s tallest residential structure. It also has the deepest foundation in the history of the city. Its 315 units include nine penthouses. The rooftop pool (with underwater speakers) is “the highest in the West,” according to Silver.
As we entered the lobby, we were immediately drawn to the hypnotic creatures in the 700-gallon jellyfish tank inlaid on the far wall. This was just the first of many unique touches Silver pointed out as he shared the building’s saga.
“The City had requested a design for a building that was iconic and striking,” he explained. “For inspiration, architect Jim Anderson and Ryan Altoon (AndersonPacific Executive Vice President at the time) traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia. That city is where you can see the future of architecture.”
In 2004, they submitted a design to the City that included cutting-edge elements while incorporating touches that pay homage to Long Beach history, such as the curved strip of light that runs up the side of the building, emulating the shape of a sail. The design was approved in 2008 but, because of the recession, as well as the loss of funding due to the dissolution of the California Redevelopment Agency, construction didn’t begin until 2018.
As construction moved forward, even during the pandemic, the builders found themselves constantly threading a budgetary needle, balancing their insistence on top-level quality with rising construction costs and increasingly tight government regulation. “We had to do a lot of cost cutting and value adding,” said Silver.
As it turned out, 2018 was a good year to begin construction. “To start construction today on a building like the Shoreline Gateway would be 50% more expensive,” Silver shared as he took us up to the roof of the building to show us how its 120,000 square feet of glass is kept clean and sparkling. “The mechanical arm that maneuvers the window washing platform is fully retractable and rotates 360 degrees. It requires a special certification to operate,” he told us. “This method is now used on other Long Beach high-rises and in metropolises throughout the world.”
We walked downstairs to one of the penthouses, which offer spectacular views in every direction. “On a clear day, you can see the Getty Museum next to the 405 Freeway in West L.A. Watching the July 4th fireworks up here is amazing; You can observe the entire L.A. Basin and Orange County lighting up,” Silver said.
Silver mentioned that the Shoreline Gateway project has had a positive impact on its neighborhood, inspiring nearby property owners to make improvements in their own buildings. He also pointed out that “people moving in here are moving out from somewhere else, which has a positive effect on the real estate market.” He added that the Shoreline Gateway and its next-door neighbor The Current (Silver’s first Downtown building project) are becoming catalysts for further architectural investment in Downtown Long Beach.
Considering its size and its 21st-century design, the Shoreline Gateway building fits in harmoniously with its iconic neighbors the Villa Riviera, built in 1927, and the International Tower, constructed in 1966. Along with the brand-new Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge on the western border of town, the new building serves as the perfect bookend for a city that seeks to preserve the treasured elements of its past while moving boldly into the future.