Home » Long Beach Airport (LGB) » 2-21-23 Long Beach Airport Temporarily Closes Historic Terminal for Major Renovations

Airport Temporarily Closes Historic Terminal for Major Renovations

Kate Kuykendall
Public Affairs Officer
Long Beach Airport
Long Beach, CA – Starting this week, Long Beach Airport (LGB)’s Historic Terminal will temporarily close for a year-long renovation that will include a seismic retrofit and restoration of many of its classic 1941 design elements. LGB will remain open and fully operational throughout the renovation.

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

Preliminary renovation efforts began while the Historic Terminal was partially open to the public, but the full closure is necessary to complete the renovation. In addition to the seismic retrofit, significant project elements include improvements to the restrooms and building infrastructure, restoration of covered mosaic tiles and other Art Deco design elements, including the iconic west entrance, which has been closed for decades.

Passenger check-in moved to the new Ticketing Lobby in May 2022, and the Airport Administration, Badging and Dispatch offices are relocating to the Nuspace Building on the Airport campus at 4401 East Donald Douglas Drive. After the renovation, the first floor will transition into space dedicated to rental car customer service functions, currently located in temporary mobile units, and Airport Administration will return to the second floor.

“The Historic Terminal is the crown jewel of the Airport campus, and we look forward to restoring it to its former glory,” said Airport Director Cynthia Guidry. “We are committed to preserving the building's timeless look and feel for travelers to enjoy well into the future.”

Expected to re-open in early 2024, the $17.8 million renovation of the Historic Terminal is the fourth project in the $110 million Phase II -- Terminal Area Improvement Program. As part of that effort, two major components were completed in the spring of 2022, including the new Ticketing Lobby and Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) facility. A new Baggage Claim is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the coming months.

Designed by William Horace Austin and Kenneth Smith Wing, the groundbreaking for the Historic Terminal took place on Jan. 11, 1941, with the building scheduled to open on Dec. 8 of that year. The Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7 delayed the opening, led to the cancellation of all commercial flights and resulted in the building being painted in camouflage and used as lodging for soldiers and military equipment. The formal opening occurred on April 25, 1942.

Declared a Historic Landmark in 1990 by the Long Beach’s Cultural Heritage Commission, the building bridges the transition from the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s to the geometric abstraction of the post-war International Style. Among the finishing touches on the Historic Terminal is 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.

Long Beach Airport will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Nov. 26, 2023. To learn more about the history of the oldest municipal airport in California, check out the new Long Beach Aviation History webpage.

About Long Beach Airport 
Founded in 1923, Long Beach Airport (LGB) is the oldest airport in California. Among its many awards, LGB was named one of the 2022 Top Ten airports in the country by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. LGB offers non-stop service to several U.S. cities while supporting a healthy general aviation community with more than 300,000 annual operations. The Airport is also a source of substantial economic activity and employment, with the LGB Aviation Complex generating $8.6 billion in economic impact and supporting 46,000 jobs. LGB is a self-supporting enterprise of the City of Long Beach and does not receive local tax dollars. The Airport prides itself in preserving its esteemed historic legacy and maintaining a safe, sustainable, and environmentally responsible operation. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @LGBAirport.