New home for Centro CHA by Studio One Eleven

Centro CHA

Architecture, urbanism and landscape-design firm Studio One Eleven will redesign the reuse of an historic building to house a training center for underserved communities. The building will be the permanent new home for Centro CHA, a Long Beach nonprofit aiming to lift up the Latino community. The group’s new Business and Workforce Skills-Training Center will provide apprenticeships and new employment opportunities in technology, transportation/logistics, hospitality and retail.

Studio One Eleven is designing the adaptive reuse of the classic zig-zag Moderne building at 1850-1862 Atlantic Avenue, as well as an adjacent addition. The project recently received approximately $5 million in California discretionary funds with support from State Senator Lena Gonzalez. And Long Beach City Council recently unanimously approved the lease of the city-owned structure. It is expected to open in 2023.

“A permanent home in the heart of our community will allow us to better serve working families and struggling businesses,” said Jessica Quintana, Executive Director of Centro CHA. “The center will provide apprenticeships to create employment opportunities and business expansion for Long Beach’s low-income population. We gratefully acknowledge Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, State Senator Gonzales, and Long Beach City Council for helping us secure our new headquarters.”

Centro CHA has been particularly important to the Long Beach community through the pandemic, providing relief services and continuing its programs in a virtual setting. Centro CHA has been without a permanent home since its 1992 founding. Because it brings a defunct historic building back to life, even the Business and Workforce Skills-Training Center itself will help uplift the surrounding neighborhood. Studio One Eleven is providing pro-bono design services for adaptive reuse of the existing 4,830-square-foot structure and the 2,400-square-foot addition.

The 1925 building was previously used by the Atlantic Head Start education program before becoming vacant. “This is an example of revitalization and adaptive re-use on multiple levels,” said Studio One Eleven Founding Principal Alan Pullman. “An underused site will come back to life, and it will house an organization proven to help underserved businesses and youth succeed. So we’re helping to revitalize a building, a neighborhood and a surrounding community. It’s exciting to be part of such a direct positive impact.”

Also supporting Centro CHA’s new facility is Long Beach Community Design Center, an independent nonprofit that partnered with Studio 111 to provide Centro CHA pro-bono conceptual design services that included visioning, program planning, preliminary cost estimating and entitlement processing. “This project is emblematic of our goal to provide high-quality pro-bono design services that are community engaged and focused on social equity,” said David Salazar, Founder and Executive Director of the Long Beach Community Design Center. “We look at this project as a model that can be replicated to expand planning and design services to under-resourced and underserved populations in the city.” Source and images Courtesy of Studio One Eleven.

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