A new development in Long Beach is aiming to provide more housing, an assisted living center, medical offices and what will perhaps be most welcome by residents — a new grocery store.
“We’re trying hard to get a grocery store on the site,” said Jared Riecke, whose family develops business in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
Riecke Development has approached six grocery stores and is “strong negotiations” with three of them, he said, offering the land at a reduced price. Rouses supermarket closed in Long Beach in 2014, but there is a Winn-Dixie and Froogel’s in the city.
The mixed-use development known as Castine Pointe North will have entrances off Commission Road, 28th Street and Klondyke Road, and is on the east end of Long Beach across from the city’s softball fields.
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“As we all know, the days of the big-box shopping centers are pretty much over,” Riecke said. To determine how best to use the property, his family had market studies done to determine if there is a need in Long Beach for apartments, for an age-restricted community and for assisted living.
“All three of them came back very favorable for the Long Beach area,” he said.
‘A big plus’
Construction already has begun for single-family housing on the southwest side of the property. Plans call for 10 apartment buildings with 240 apartments on the north side off 28th Street. All are market rate apartments, he said.
Also planned are an assisted living facility and medical office buildings.
“There’s a portion of the property that falls under a medical district,” something Riecke said his family sees as a benefit. The medical offices will provide outpatient care services.
Commercial space is set aside for smaller shops and restaurants, he said, so residents can walk, cycle or a drive a golf cart without having to leave the development and go out on city roads.
“It’s just a big plus for us,” Jenny Levens, Long Beach community affairs director, said of the development.
Phase II and III, which include the residential areas, have been approved by the city. She said the Long Beach Planning and Development Commission will work with the developer once a wetlands permit is issued and the master plan is submitted for the rest of the site.
Building on wetlands
The 202-acre site is on wetlands, and developers plan to fill 9.62 acres as well as build retention ponds.
The development already received a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is going through the process again because of major changes to the plans since the permit was issued.
Work will start soon after the permit is secured.
“In the next 12 to 24 months that site’s going to change drastically,” Riecke said.
The Army Corps of Engineers is taking comments on the permit, and written comment can be made for 30 days from the public notice, which was dated Feb. 23.
To comment on the wetlands permit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 228-523-4024.
Effect on drainage
The county is also completing a drainage study for the area of 28th Street, which floods in heavy rains, said Levens. The Long Beach Water Management District is in charge of maintaining the canals.
Work already has been done to improve Canal 2 that runs through the site. Riecke said his family has deeded right of way along the canal so additional improvements can be made.
When the development is built out, several retention ponds are part of the plans and Riecke said they will be used as landscaping and architectural features.
His parents have owned a second home in Long Beach since 2002 and they took title to the 202-acre site a couple of days before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We consider ourselves a part of the community as well,” he said.