Looks like it is 'near' official - Acres of Books, a longtime hangout of bookaholics is searching for new digs. 240 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach California will be turned over to redevelopers (the City of Long Beach Redevelopment Agency is brokering the deal) for "commercial space, housing and an art center where local works can be displayed and art-related events can be hosted".
2.8 million is the reported purchase price of the property which was owned by the store as opposed to their renting.
Evidently to the city a book store is not suitable for 'commercial space'. - Nor are books to be considered art...
"We are not planning on absolutely closing down," said Smith, co-owner of Acres of Books along with her husband Phil. "We are looking for a new location."
Their website posted:
Dear Customers and Friends of Acres of Books,
Jackie and I have negotiated the sale of our property, building and land at 240 Long Beach Blvd. Acres of Books has been there since my grandfather, Bertrand Smith, moved there in 1964. We still own the book store business, Acres of Books.
We had no choice but to deal with the City of Long Beach, Redevelopment Agency. Craig Beck and Carl Morgan, whom we worked very closely with, treated us in a business like manner, and helped to get us thru some very important issues.
The City is going to let us stay in their building one more year. This will give us a chance to have a couple of stock reduction sales, while we continue to look for a place to buy. We will not be able to have as much stock in a new building, even if we find one as big as we have now. The aisles will have to be twice as wide and not near as high. Oh well.
So, please continue to visit us, just to look around and hopefully find something you have been looking for, at a fair price. As my grandfather, Bertrand, (Pop, as we called him) said when a customer found an under priced gem, “I made my money at that price, that’s enough.”
Let us know your name and address, and we will let you know when we have a sale, and you can save a lot of money.
Come in and say hello to Jackie, Ron, Aaron, Steve, Amber, Mary, David, Sean, Megan, Cheyenne and Chloe. Don’t forget to give Penny, the bookstore cat a pat and rub, or a hug.
Thank you so much, and we hope to see you soon,
Phil and Jackie Smith
The deal is not quite final. The RDA will take up the 'issue' for 'approval with the RDA Board' April 21, 08.
At a recent downtown neighborhoods meeting, Mayor Bob Foster and City Manager Pat West were implored to save Acres of Books.
But the purchase of the Acres of Books site, and the block that surrounds it, is designed to clear the way for another project that has long been sought in the downtown - and "art exchange."
"We’re trying to create an art-themed building," Beck said. "We've talked with the community about an art exchange where artists could live and have galleries to sell their work, where there would be a residential component. We have talked to (California State University, Long Beach) about maybe doing some art student housing."
The goal of all of that would be to have a building that links the core of downtown with the East Village, Beck said.
He said that the RDA offered to have Acres of Books be a part of that, but Smith said that was not going to be a good fit. She said it was an emotional decision to move on.
Student Housing??? - Well with the students they are turning out these days they should have negotiated keeping the picture books...
The City of Long Beach, California might have utilized the term, 'Eminent Domain' in their negotiations with owners Phil and Jackie Smith or they might not have. I didn't see the words used in the news articles but I did see the methods cities have cultivated through the years to 'purchase' properties for 'pet projects'.
'Pet projects' cost taxpayers dollars they can't afford and give only limited returns.
Where is the Supreme Court on the issue of cities taking property against property owners wishes?
Probably taking a nap...
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