Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool Rebuild Modifies Plans for New Pool

A downturn in the price of oil (upon which Long Beach’s economy is highly dependent) has stalled the launching of the rebuild of the famed Belmont Plaza Pool, but after a city council meeting on Thursday evening, it appears that the project is back on the rails – with some tweaks.

Inflation in construction costs have driven the estimate of the originally-envisioned project up to an estimated $145 million, up from the $103 million project approval, which itself was an increase from the $60-ish million original plan. Among the stated drivers for the gap is the new federal government tariffs placed on importing construction materials. That gap has driven community organizers to work with the government on a rethink that includes changing the facility to an outdoor facility.

The old Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool was torn down in 2014 over concerns about its ability to withstand an earthquake. That facility had been one of the last options on the west coast (along with the King County Aquatic Center in Seattle) to host major long course championship meets indoors. That pool was built to host the 1968 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, and wound up hosting many huge meets – including the 1976 Trials, the 1974 NCAA Championships, and the 1978 NCAA Championships. While still getting a lot of use, the upgrades necessary to make it safe were estimated around $23 million.

Currently, $61 million are set aside to fund the new project, meaning that there’s a gap of around $21 million still to close.

The most current plan still is moving forward with the beach location, though the Long Beach Coastal Commission has preferred an alternate site downtown.

The facility has been identified as a priority ahead of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, along with a rebuilding of the Belmont Pier to host the sailing events, new beach concession stands, a new hotel in downtown Long Beach, and improvements to public transportation. When Los Angeles bid to host the 2012 Olympics, the old Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool was under consideration to host diving; that is still being considered for the new pool (which would require a 10,000 seat temporary grandstand).

New Vision:

The new vision for the pool would be scaled back from the original plans, but would still leave the facility capable of hosting major meets. Among the features in what is called the “probable path forward”:

  • A 50-meter by 25-yard outdoor pool
  • 1,500 permanent spectators seats
  • Recreational/play/therapy pool
  • The current temporary outdoor pool at the site would be made permanent to give the facility 2 50-meter pools
  • The diving well and towers would be outside at the Northeast corner of the project

This new “probable path,” pending approval from the Coastal Commission, is estimated to take 3 years to complete (6 months for Coastal Commission review and approval, 12 months for pre-construction planning, bidding and contracting, and 18 months for construction).

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Original Tim
2 years ago

Is the $145M estimate for the current plan, or just the current cost of the original plan? If that’s the cost for the current plan, it’s pretty sad that a scaled down plan still comes with a 140%+ cost increase…

Reply to  The Original Tim
2 years ago

Word on the street is they had to modify plans due to the threat of rising sea levels. I’m sure that’s a huge factor in the cost increase. I would assume the $145m figure is for the modified plan.

Lucy Johnson
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

the California Coastal Commission is concerned about sea level rise, but the city hired engineering consultants to study the likelihood of SLR effects on the pool site. The results show a less than 4% chance that SLR by 2100 would touch the bottom of the pool’s beachside 7′ plinth on top of which the facility would be built. There are a couple of options to reduce even that much risk (plus, if the sea level gets that high, most of the beachfront of Long Beach, including major residential and commercial areas would be underwater). The projected cost increase for the original plan is due to construction cost inflation, including the impact of tariffs on construction materials. The modified plan would… Read more »

Lucy Johnson
Reply to  The Original Tim
2 years ago

The $145 million is the current estimate for the original plan. We were told by city officials that the scaled down plan would be around $82 million in today’s dollars.

2 years ago

Can hardly wait for this swim complex to be completed! Let’s get CIF SS back to this venue.

Corliss Lee
2 years ago

When and where was the council meeting referenced in the first sentence “but after a city council meeting on Thursday evening?” I went online to look at the agenda and cannot find a city council meeting on June 20th or on any other thursday evening.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »