Long Beach opts for P3 for new city hall, civic center

One of the largest public-private partnerships (P3s/PPPs) in Southern California is about to get underway. City officials in Long Beach recently broke ground for construction of the new city hall and civic center – which will be owned by a private-sector company.

As part of the collaborative effort with the city, the private partner will design, build, maintain and own the facilities, but only for 40 years. After that time, ownership will revert to the city. The price tag on the project is set at $530 million.

The private firm will provide capital for building the city hall, a new library and a headquarters for the Port of Long Beach – all near the current city hall. Nearby Lincoln Park will get a makeover that will include areas for retail enterprises, restaurants and homes.

Long Beach joins a growing number of California cities and agencies taking advantage of collaborative efforts used in public-private partnerships. Los Angeles is reportedly considering P3s for a new convention center, civic center, LA Streetcar and a people mover for Los Angeles International Airport. And the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation is said to be considering a P3 project as well.

Public-private partnerships bring readily available private-sector capital to the table in a day and time when government financial resources are scarce. This allows government entities to provide public buildings and public infrastructure such as roads, water and wastewater plants quicker, at a lower cost and at less risk. An increasing number of government entities are following California’s lead in taking advantage of the benefits that these collaborative efforts offer.