Long Beach Convention Center Plans $5 Million in Improvements

Pending approval from the Long Beach City Council, work may soon commence on $5.3 million worth of improvements at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif., the Long Beach Business Journal reported last week.

Planned improvements include creating a "loft-style" ballroom in the Long Beach Arena — typically used for sporting and entertainment events — and making aesthetic upgrades to the 825-seat Center Theater. Scheduled for completion as early as January, the ballroom project will fabricate 45,000 square feet of event space by installing electronically operated curtains that drop from the ceiling in order to enclose the floor area and cover views of the arena's upper deck seating. With seating for 5,500 people, it will double the convention center's current ballroom capacity while still allowing for arena events, such as Disney on Ice.

"The improvements to the sports arena will provide attractive modernized event space needed to accommodate larger functions at the center, and update the appearance and usefulness of the Long Beach Sports Arena," said a city staff report, according to the Long Beach Business Journal.

Part of a $20 million, three-year "repositioning" of the Long Beach Convention Center, funding for the projects already has been approved. Before work can begin, however, the City Council must transfer authority for the projects to the convention center's management company, SMG. A vote was expected to take place last week, although the results of that vote were not immediately reported.