The storied saga of the Long Beach Airport terminal is destined to live on for generations to come, thanks to a yearlong building renovation that includes a variety of improvements and much-needed seismic retrofitting.

Original Art Deco designs will be restored – including a mosaic masterwork by artist Grace Clements, who incorporated 1.6 million hand-cut tiles in 32 colors that adorn the first and second floors – hearkening back to an era when glamour and luxury were abruptly replaced with the reality of a looming second world war. The ornately decorated terminal was originally slated to open on Dec. 8, but the celebration was cancelled with the bombing of Pearl Harbor the day before. Quick work was done to cover the building in camouflage and netting in response to the pending conflict, and the terminal opened in April the following year.

“The Historic Terminal is one of the most beloved architectural icons of or city,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a city press release. “These improvements represent our commitment to preserve its history for generations to come.”

Indeed. Seismic retrofits play an important role in preserving a community’s culture and history, as reflected in its buildings. Older structures, when preserved and repurposed, lend a historic charm to a community. They remind us of the contributions of those who lived there before us, and the responsibility we now carry to leave a positive legacy for future generations.

Here in the Southern Cities region, several successful projects come to mind – updating outdated spaces for safety and functionality – converting old residential into commercial uses, and commercial buildings into residential. Some local examples include The Attic restaurant on Broadway; the Lafayette on Linden Avenue; and the Ocean Center Building, a 14-story residential structure on Ocean Boulevard that for many years housed an arcade, retail shops and other commercial and office space.

The Optimum Seismic team has performed many adaptive reuse projects over the years, including the conversion of a historic hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo into a mixed-use project of 48 apartments and retail; a similar conversion at the Mayfair Hotel in downtown Pomona; and the conversion of several Victorian homes into student housing for my alma mater, the University of Southern California.

In the vast majority of these and other adaptive reuse projects, it’s not simply about reusing the space inside the building shell, it involves other upgrades as well. Seismic retrofits, electrical rewiring, plumbing replacement and other improvements are often done to add significant value to the building. Doing a seismic retrofit in tandem with an adaptive reuse project saves both time and money.

In apartment building renovations, units can be redesigned to meet modern demands such as open areas for kitchens and living spaces; upgraded bathrooms and expansive closet space.  Community space may also be incorporated by integrating common areas for gyms and gathering spaces. Once you determine what new functionality you desire for spaces within your building, consider integrating some of the unique features your building currently has and how they can be harnessed to dramatically enhance the value of your adaptive reuse project.

Adaptive reuse is the perfect complement to any seismic retrofit project. And like the retrofit itself, it will give your building long-lasting value and functionality for many, many years to come. If you’re interested in learning more about your older structure’s potential for building renovation, call Optimum Seismic at 833-978-7664, and we’ll be happy to discuss options with you.