The City of Long Beach has announced that the historic terminal building at Long Beach Airport will be temporarily closed for approximately one year starting this week to undergo $17.8 million in preservation and renovation. This iconic building was first opened in 1941 and features numerous mosaics designed by Grace Richardson Clements, comprising 1.6 million hand-cut tiles that will be restored and preserved, including some that have been out of the public eye for a long time.
The renovation includes seismic retrofits and upgrades to the bathrooms. The building previously housed the municipal airport’s ticketing lobby, but a new ticketing lobby opened last year, leaving the historic space open for updates. Once completed, the terminal building will serve as the car rental facility, which has been operating out of temporary buildings in the parking lot area for years.
Mayor Rex Richardson stated, “The historic terminal is one of the most beloved architectural icons of our city. These improvements represent our commitment to preserving its history for generations to come.”
The renovation is part of the $110 million Phase II Terminal Area Improvement Program, which includes the ticketing lobby and new checked baggage inspection systems. A new baggage claim area is under construction and expected to open in the coming months after delays.
The Long Beach Airport Historic Terminal Building has been declared a historic landmark in 1990 by the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commission. It “bridges the transition from the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s to the geometric abstraction of the post-war International Style,” according to the city. The terminal building has been featured in many feature films, including “Airplane!” (1980), “The Parent Trap” (1998), and “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (1947).