LONG BEACH (CNS) - Long Beach Airport's historic terminal will temporarily close beginning this week for a year-long renovation that includes a seismic retrofit and restoration of many of its classic 1941 design elements.
Preliminary renovation efforts began while the terminal was partially open to the public, but a full closure is necessary to complete the renovation, city officials said. The project will also include improvements to the restrooms and building infrastructure, and restoration of covered mosaic tiles and other Art Deco design elements, including the iconic west entrance, which has been closed for decades.
"The historic terminal is one of the most beloved architectural icons of our city," Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement Tuesday. "These improvements represent our commitment to preserve its history for generations to come."
Passenger check-in moved to the new ticketing lobby in May 2022, and the airport administration, badging and dispatch offices are relocating to the Nuspace Building at 4401 East Donald Douglas Drive. After the renovation, the first floor will transition into space dedicated to rental car customer service functions, currently located in temporary mobile units, and airport administration will return to the second floor.
The $17.8 million renovation is expected to be complete in time for the terminal to re-open in early 2024. It's the fourth project in the $110 million Phase II -- Terminal Area Improvement Program. Two major components were completed in spring 2022, including the new ticketing lobby and checked baggage inspection system facility. A new baggage claim is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the coming months.
"The historic terminal is the crown jewel of the airport campus, and we look forward to restoring it to its former glory," Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said. "We are committed to preserving the building's timeless look and feel for travelers to enjoy well into the future."
Designed by William Horace Austin and Kenneth Smith Wing, the groundbreaking for the historic terminal took place on Jan. 11, 1941, with the building scheduled to open on Dec. 8 of that year. The Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7 delayed the opening, led to the cancellation of all commercial flights and resulted in the building being painted in camouflage and used as lodging for soldiers and military equipment.
The formal opening occurred on April 25, 1942.
It was declared a historic landmark in 1990 by the Long Beach's Cultural Heritage Commission.
Long Beach Airport will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Nov. 26 of this year.