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Historic Preservation

The City of Long Beach and the Second District have many valuable historic homes and neighborhoods. Vice Mayor Lowenthal takes pride in preserving our city's architectural history and has been a champion for adaptive reuse and Mills Act legislation.

What is historic preservation?

Historic preservation is the act of legally designating an item, a property (home or otherwise) or neighborhood as having historical significance. To qualify, a property or neighborhood must meet specific criteria (i.e., age, historical relevance, etc.). Historic properties and districts are protected by regulations that require the owner to maintain structure quality.

Are there any benefits to historic preservation?

Historic homes, businesses and neighborhoods enjoy special monetary, aesthetic and cultural benefits. First, historic preservation can increase property value and property owners can receive federal tax incentives for historic preservation of income-generating buildings. Second, historic neighborhoods are protected by city and state regulations - incompatible exterior developments, alterations and additions are regulated to protect the neighborhood's aesthetic. By comparison, non-residential historic properties enjoy more freedoms in zoning and building regulations. (Specifically, non-conforming uses of historic buildings may be permitted to allow more productive use of them). Finally, historic neighborhoods and districts build community pride because they can bring residents together and help neighborhoods resolve other issues (such as blight and crime).

Which areas in Long Beach are historic?

View a Map of all historic neighborhoods in the City of Long Beach.

How can I designate my home or neighborhood as historic?

To get started, call the City's Historic Preservation Officer at (562) 570-6864. You can also speak with the Cultural Heritage Commission.  The Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) reviews design of all changes to designated properties, and identifies buildings and neighborhoods with architectural and historical value, recommending designation as City landmarks to the Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission.

Adaptive Reuse

Adaptive reuse refers to a construction or remodeling project that reconfigures a site to accommodate a new use or a purpose other than for what it was originally designed. The City seeks to encourage adaptive reuse to allow for the conversion of existing structures into new land uses that maintain or enhance the character of the community and further extend the life of a building or space. Learn more about the City's Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program.

More resources

The National Park Service provides Technical Preservation Services (TPS) newsletters, easy-to-read guides that explain how to preserve and restore historic buildings, and federal tax incentives for historic preservation. Also, the National Park Service offers grants for historic preservation of parks, buildings and historic neighborhoods.

The California Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) is responsible for administering federally and state mandated historic preservation programs to further the identification, evaluation, registration, and protection of California's irreplaceable resources.