A new mixed-use development is sparking community revitalization in Central Long Beach, California. Built in its hometown, Linc Housing’s Spark at Midtown is one of the first projects approved under Long Beach’s Midtown Specific Plan to bring vibrancy back to the community, which had become run down and blighted.
The development, completed in February, has become an anchor for Long Beach Boulevard and a flagship project for Linc.
“We went over the top with it in a great way,” says Suny Lay Chang, president and chief operating officer at Linc. “We wanted it to be a destination and a resource connecting to the community. What brings it to life is how you use the building and who you bring to the building.”
Spark at Midtown is designed to address housing, health, and economic needs in Central Long Beach. It features 95 units for low-income families earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income, including 47 homes for people who have experienced homelessness.
Linc has partnered with two key organizations for the ground floor community-serving spaces—YMCA of Greater Long Beach and Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center. The YMCA’s Community Development Branch programs have relocated to the building and will provide opportunities for inner-city youths as well as help new immigrants. Less than 1.5 miles from the medical center, Dignity Health has a four-room clinic, providing access to health care for the residents and the surrounding community.
The $52.8 million development also includes a demonstration kitchen, a social enterprise café, a community meeting room, and a pocket park open to the neighborhood.
“It’s not just the housing, it is the community and economic development by bringing in all these rich partners,” Chang says. “We think this is the right way and a great way to serve the needs of our residents and the community at large.”