The former Hebrew Academy at 530 W. Broadway in Long...

The former Hebrew Academy at 530 W. Broadway in Long Beach on Friday. Developers want to demolish the school and build oceanfront condos. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals is considering scaled back plans by developers to build two oceanfront condo towers at the former Hebrew Academy of Long Beach.

The Zoning Board held an online hearing June 4 to discuss an environmental impact report and extended public comment on the report through Oct. 2.

Developers with Connecticut-based Wittek Development LLC and Manhattan-based 73rd Meridian Partners, are proposing two nine-story buildings, totaling 112 luxury condos between one and four bedrooms with oceanfront views at 530 W. Broadway. The project is aimed at empty nester baby boomers or singles or couples without kids, developers said.

The project, between Lindell and Washington boulevards would replace the dilapidated Hebrew Academy, which has been tax exempt and relocated to Woodmere three years ago.

Developers had previously proposed two 15-story structures, which was scaled back from 154-foot-tall towers with 130 condos, down to 105-foot-tall buildings after feedback from residents against the project. The zoning board is considering variances for height and density to the city’s zoning code.

New plans also eliminated a previously planned third six-story building. The new designs include a pool and clubhouse  between the two buildings facing the boardwalk.

“I would like to stress the efforts we made to listen to comments we received and that we made some significant physical changes to the plan,” developer Kurt Wittek said. “We have clearly heard the voices. We have a beautiful project to attract high-level buyers and a nice oceanfront lifestyle.”

Comments submitted to the zoning board have opposed the project, including residents with the group Long Beach Neighbors Against Overdevelopment and the Long Beach School District. Long Beach attorney Charles Peknic wrote that dozens of residents opposed the new application as they had in 2017.

“Just like the Developer’s initial application, the variances being requested by the developer  ... [are] merely being requested to maximize profit and as a result will have an negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods,” Peknic wrote. “The variances sought in this alternative proposal have been minimally reduced from the developer’s initial proposal.”

The project includes two levels of parking starting from the ground up, including four condos on the second level, and seven stories of condos on top. The building will also include a theater, gym and boardwalk-level seating and terrace gardens  in front of the backset pool.

Developers said the additions were designed to “soften the edges and create a friendlier face to the boardwalk.”

The project is expected to generate $1.1 million annually in new taxes for the city and $1.4 million for the school district, Witteck said. He said the project will generate 735 new construction jobs and $237 million in economic benefits. The project is expected to create 56 permanent jobs and $8 million in annual local input, Witteck said.

Long Beach school district officials said developers overestimated the financial benefit to the district based on inaccurate enrollment numbers. District Superintendent Jennifer Gallagher said the district joined with community groups who opposed the project

“We believe that their concerns about overdevelopment in the area are significant, and we support their opposition as key stakeholders and those most likely to be impacted by the development,” Gallagher said.

Long Beach Hebrew Academy condo project

112 oceanfront condos

Two nine-story buildings

105-feet tall

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