City Council Approves $103.7 Million Belmont Pool Project, Including Upgraded Seating

The Long Beach swimming community had their voices heard and recognized on Tuesday night, when the City Council approved a $103.7 million budget for the new Belmont Pool Project designed to replace the now-demolished Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, according to

The design, driven primarily by the “stakeholders” who will be specifically using the pool, will be more-or-less the full package that the local aquatics communities have asked for, albeit with a price tag that non-users have balked at.

The pool will feature:

  • an indoor 50-meter pool
  • an outdoor 50-meter pool
  • a separate indoor diving well
  • 1,250 seats (for an extra $4.7 million on top of the proposed 650-seat plan)
  • separate teaching, recreation, and therapy pools
  • a movable floor on the indoor pool to accommodate different uses.

To help reduce the costs of the pool, the following changes were made from the original plans presented last June:

  • no banquet hall
  • reducing the size of the restaurant
  • “adjustments” in several bathroom facilities in the Tidelands Fund

The Tidelands Fund has become a significant factor in the pool. This City of Long Beach government fund comes primarily from profits earned from the city’s oil profits, which earned $46.1 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. It is also funded by leases for the Queen Mary boat that docks in the city and the Pike at Rainbow Harbor. By shifting allotments to different beach restrooms, which also draw their money from the fund, the City of Long Beach was able to satisfy its council that the money would be available to fund a full-scale Belmont Plaza project.

There was a casing to the promises for funds, however. The estimates of revenue to the Tidelands Fund were made based on an assumption of $100 a barrel for the price of crude oil. As of posting, the price of crude was trading around $82 a barrel (though it is trending upward). City Council members were careful to point out this gap, and say that if crude prices didn’t return closer to the highs they’ve been experiencing in the last few years, that they would have to seek an alternative source of funding.

While driven partially because of high labor costs in California, the price tag will make the Belmont pool one of the priciest ever constructed in the United States (though it pales in comparison, for example, to the $300 million it cost to build the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex pool in Dubai to host the 2010 World Short Course Championships).

Other projects of a similar scale, for comparison:

  • Conroe ISD Natatorium , Conroe, Texas (host of the 2013 NCAA D3 Championships) – 1,000 seats, no movable floor, Cost: $14 million
  • Planned University of Wisconsin Pool – at least* 1,500 seats, no movable floor, separate diving well, Cost: $26 million


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8 years ago

A couple of points regarding the new Belmont pool.

One, the “other projects of a similar scale” mentioned in the article really are not on a similar scale. The new Belmont will have a total of 7 bodies of water: the indoor and outdoor 50M pools as stated, plus a separate diving tank, an outdoor recreational pool, a small indoor therapy/teaching pool, and two spa pools. One of the spa pools will be a small one adjacent to the diving tank, and the other, probably 6′ by 12′ will be located next to the therapy/teaching pool. This is in contrast to the one indoor 50M pool, the 6-lane shallow 25Y outdoor pool (which was the original warm-up pool), and… Read more »

Reply to  Lucy Johnson
8 years ago

Hi Lucy: is it specified what the depths of the pool are? What concerns me is the dive in and turn depth of the pools. We are happy that this announcement is made and can’t wait for our age group swimmers to swim champs there!

cynthia curran
8 years ago

It depends tract housing has low labor cost because of immigrants but government construction can be union and California is more unionized than Texas since Texas is a right to work state. Some of its regulations and land cost because of speculation drives up cost. Texas a lot of construction labor is pay about 3 to 5 per hour less than California and Unionized labor could be about 6 to 7 more per hour.

8 years ago

It seemed to me the Advisory Committee is/was afraid to take this complex to the world stage level. A few persons, myself included, recommended two 50 meter x 25 meter pools. The Advisory Committee did not agree. It must also be said the the California Coastal Commission is not allowing the new complex to exceed the size of the current footprint of the existing facility. What we have now is a 50 meter x 25 yard indoor pool, with a 50 meter x 25 meter outdoor pool, plus the diving well, therapy pool, recreation pool, and 12 person jacuzzi.
This article on the Belmont pool is not complete.

Reply to  Bill
8 years ago

BILL – as a member of the Advisory Committee, I can tell you we are/were not “afraid” to take this complex to the world stage level. However, we were constrained by available funding, for what is already most likely the most expensive aquatics complex to be built in this country. That is why the seating was so important. By increasing the seating from what city staff and the designers had proposed, we are now able to bid for all aquatic events short of the Olympic and Olympic Trials swimming events, as those now are held in venues with up to 20,000 seats. We will be able to bid for the Olympic Trials in Diving, and probably synchronized swimming.

As for… Read more »

Reply to  Lucy Johnson
8 years ago

I’m glad to hear that you’re still pushing for the indoor pool to measure 50 x 25 meters. We’ve gone this far and it seems crazy not to add the few extra feet/meters to have the indoor pool meet specs. for all competitions.

8 years ago

What level meets are they hoping to host with that seating capacity? NCAA Championships? Grand Prix Series? It wouldn’t be big enough for Summer Nationals, would it?

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Thanks, Braden. The setting, with windows looking out on the ocean and next to the beach, sounds so beautiful that I hope it will be very busy hosting events!

Reply to  Danjohnrob
8 years ago

DANJOHNROB – don’t forget that temporary seating can always be brought in for the larger events. Junior Nationals have been held at the old pool in the past, and several USA Grand Prix meets as well. No reason we can’t see those meets again at the new Belmont. The old Belmont also hosted something like 26 of the first 29 NCAA Water Polo Championships (men’s) held, and we would expect to bid on those events again with the new facility.

8 years ago

It’s not as much the physical labor costs that are high, there is plenty of cheap construction labor available in So Cal. It’s the regulatory costs in CA that are very burdensome. Some necessary, such as seismic codes, but others quite dubious. I.e. kick-backs to the Coastal Commision and contributions to the general fund for Gov Brown’s “high” speed train to nowhere.

I like those old Belmont pool deck mosaic tiles. A nice souvenir if you’ve swum there.

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, …

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