Joe Iorio, managing partner of Arcadia Management, presented a proposal for what he touted as the first green-friendly apartment building in Long Beach at the West End Neighbors Civic Association meeting last week.
The building would be constructed at property Arcadia owns at 158 New York Ave., which includes an adjoining strip of storefronts on West Beech Street.
“The building is being built with the highest regards to the carbon footprint that everybody else is leaving in New York,” Iorio told residents during the meeting at the People’s Church on Delaware Avenue Aug. 29.
With plans to employ solar power, Arcadia is pursuing a LEED certification, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. “It provides a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions,” said Iorio, who stated that he wants to pass the expected utilities-savings on to future residents.
Arcadia originally proposed a building with 30 units and parking, but pulled its application just before a Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals hearing in July. After further evaluation, Iorio reduced the proposal to 27 units. Under the new blueprints, there are seven two-bedroom units and 20 other units that are a mix of one-bedroom and studio apartments.
Iorio also pitched the project as a place to bring “affordable” rentals to Long Beach.
“I am mainly looking for retired people,” he said. “People raise their families here and then want to sell their homes, but want to remain in Long Beach and are not able to do so because of the lack of affordable rentals.”
The proposed building would be five stories, with the first story devoted to parking, and would overlook the parking lot at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School between West Penn Street and West Broadway. Iorio said the building would be the same height as the school’s gymnasium and would not obstruct neighbors’ views.
Each unit would have a parking space and the two-bedroom units would have tandem spaces, at no extra cost to the resident, Iorio said. In all, the parking lot would have 33 individual spaces, eight tandem spaces and two handicap spaces, as well as an area to park 40 bicycles. A wall will surround the parking lot so that car headlights would not disturb neighboring buildings or homes.
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The parking lot entrance and exit would be installed on New York Avenue, and Iorio said that it would not disturb the flow of traffic. The building’s door entrances would be located on West Beech, New York and West Penn.
Studio apartments of 600 square feet would start at approximately $1,300. One-bedroom units of 994 square feet would range from $1,800 to $2,200. Each apartment would be equipped with free wifi and a washer dryer.
At last week's meeting some residents voiced concern that the building could be turned into Section 8 housing. Iorio said that he had no such intentions, and would have no problem writing that in the deed. “I can guarantee it,” he vowed.
Iorio said that, contingent on weather conditions and his obtaining building permits, the apartments could be constructed in just under a year. He assured residents that there would not be any road closures due to the construction. “We will spend the time to get it done the right way,” he added.
Based in Long Beach for 47 years, Arcadia Management has built and owns multiple apartment buildings and homes in the city. Among its developments is an area on Pennsylvania Avenue, called Penn Quarter, consisting of five homes. Iorio said the company contributes, on average, about $285,000 a year in taxes to the city, and the new building would generate $150,000 a year in taxes.
Residents expressed mix thoughts about the project.
“I think that it is a great idea,” Mary Lou Monahan said. “There is a real demand for it because people want to downsize and still stay in Long Beach. I think it should be very successful.”
However, James Lynch, a resident of the nearby Walks neighborhood, said he liked Iorio’s presentation but had reservations about the project. “I am opposed to the project as it is now,” he said. “The density of 60 feet is just too high.”
A California Street resident, who declined to be named, told Patch: “On Pennsylvania Avenue he originally wanted to put up 22 condos, but was only allowed to put up five. Everyone on the block was against it, and he disrupted our way of life.”
Iorio asked for residents' support when Arcadia’s application goes to the zoning board at City Hall on Sept. 27.
“I believe in this town; I am looking to be partners with everyone here,” Iorio said at the end of his presentation. “My business is a family business, I have a future here, why would I want to do anything to jeopardize my future or my son’s future?”