©2010 Bob Foster
Mercedes-Benz USA Begins Construction on New 1.1MM Square Foot West Coast Campus in Long Beach
Mercedes Benz

New Facility to Bring Together Several Business Units to Increase Efficiencies


LONG BEACH, C.A. –Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today officially marked the commencement of construction on a new West Coast regional facility in Long Beach, California. The new location serves as the future home of MBUSA’s Vehicle Preparation Center, Western Region and Learning & Performance Offices, which are all currently located in Southern California.


The new facility will consist of two buildings, totaling 1,091,754 sq. ft. on a 52.2 acre lot. The historic location opened in 1941 as home to the Douglas Aircraft Company and later served as the Boeing 717 aircraft manufacturing facility until closing in 2006. Located across the street from the Long Beach Airport in a mixed-use development known as Pacific Pointe at Douglas Park, the facility is expected to be ready to begin business operations in the first quarter of 2015.


“Southern California is the car culture capital of the world and it remains one of the largest markets for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Hollywood, great weather, a passion for the automobile and continued growth of the luxury market have all contributed to this singular position,” said Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for MBUSA. “Thirty years ago Mercedes-Benz planted roots in Southern California and expanding sales volume necessitates that we have the most efficient and effective structure to support our dealers in providing a world-class customer experience.”


“I am thrilled Mercedes-Benz selected Long Beach as its new West Coast home,” said Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach. “This is an iconic brand moving into an iconic building with a plan to re-imagine the former 717 site into a state-of-the-art facility that will activate this property for many years to come.”


Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

Mayor Foster test drove an all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle.

The new facility will include the following business operations:

  • VEHICLE PREPARATION CENTER – The Vehicle Preparation Center is responsible for ensuring Mercedes-Benz vehicles are ready to deliver once they arrive in the United States. Distribution tasks include receiving vehicles from vessels, inventory management for the U.S. market, port of entry services, shipping and wholesaling of vehicles. Quality tasks include vehicle inspection and factory quality checks. MBUSA operates three Vehicle Preparation Centers located in Baltimore, MD, Brunswick, GA and Carson, CA.
  • WESTERN REGION OFFICE – The MBUSA Western Region supports 82 dealerships with sales and fixed operations across 12 states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Utah. MBUSA has three other regional offices in the U.S.: Parsippany, NJ, Rosemont, IL and Jacksonville, FL.
  • LEARNING & PERFORMANCE CENTER – The Learning & Performance Center provides training to dealership and MBUSA employees. MBUSA Learning & Performance conducts instructor-led training, eLearning, virtual classrooms, peer-to-peer training, and mobile learning to ensure that customer-facing personnel have the information and ability to deliver to the highest professional service. MBUSA operates Learning & Performance Centers in Houston, TX, Itasca, IL, Jacksonville, FL and Montvale, NJ.


About Mercedes-Benz USA Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the SLS AMG GT. MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com. Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.


Mercedes Benz


Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.

Mayor Foster with Dietmar Exler, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA.


©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor to Host Two Workshops to Get Local Businesses Online
Long Beach Get Your Business Online

In anticipation of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Mayor Bob Foster will host two Get Your Business Online (GYBO) workshops on Monday, November 25, at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Business owners who attend the workshop will have access to computers and free hands-on instruction in Pacific Gateway’s computer lab to learn how to set up an account and build their website.


Event details are:


Monday, November 25

8:00a.m. or 4:00p.m.

Pacific Gateway

3447 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807


Parking will be provided in the Pacific Gateway lot.


The Long Beach Get Your Business Online initiative provides business owners with the tools to create and host their own website completely free for one year. Today, the importance of being online is more crucial than ever. Businesses with a website are expected to grow 40% faster and are twice as likely to create jobs.


Google and Homestead, provide a selection more than 200 website templates to choose from, three clickable web pages, a custom domain name, and free web hosting for one year.


Computer space is limited. Interested individuals must RSVP to the Mayor’s office by Friday, November 22, by calling (562) 570-6801, or email gybo@longbeach.gov. Please provide your name, phone number and which workshop you would like to attend.



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©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor’s Statement from Hyatt/UNITE HERE Press Conference
Credit Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

Thank you for having me;


Thank you to Maria Elena, Councilmember Lowenthal and the other members of the Council for being here today;


Welcome also to Steve D’Agostino, the GM at the Hyatt in Downtown.


Steve, this hotel has been a great partner for this City and I know from my conversations over the years that the Hyatt Corporation at the highest levels holds this property in great regard.


By the end of this year, this company will have invested about $40 million in a top-to-bottom renovations of the entire property; and don’t forget, they have electric vehicle charging stations.


The sister hotel, the Hyatt Pike, is one of our newest boutique hotels and has by far one of the coolest rooftop pools around.


These are substantial investments in the commerce of Long Beach that yield revenue for the City. They are investments that are forward-looking and on behalf of the City, thank you to Hyatt Corporation for investing in Long Beach.


Today’s announcement highlights an investment in the most important capital – human capital and I believe again demonstrates the long-term perspective that the Hyatt Corporation and their local team have for this City.


It is not a secret that UNITE HERE and Hyatt haven’t always had the warmest of relationships; and Sacramento and Washington are providing us constant reminders that it is not easy to find the middle ground in today’s political debate.


There is a ways to go still in this process;


I think anyone who has followed our successful efforts to reform public pensions here in Long Beach knows that even though everyone agrees on the outcome that process still has to work its way through. And as I have said many times before, the best deal is one where both sides gain and yet leave something on the table.


Today is an important day and I applaud both sides for finding common ground and engaging in the collective bargaining process.

# # #


©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor helps to launch 2013 Hire-A-Youth Summer Program
Hire a Youth

The Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network today kicked off its Hire-A-Youth Summer Internship and Employment program. Each year, the program provides hundreds of youth in Long Beach and Signal Hill with valuable work experience, and also provides businesses with eager, job-ready workers. The program was launched at a ceremony thanking businesses for their support and encouraging them to continue their involvement in the program.


“Summer jobs and internships help build a young person’s work experience, and give them a sense of what career paths they may want to follow,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “We’re asking employers to help us provide opportunities for these hardworking youth – hire them for the summer or serve as an internship mentor.”


This year’s program includes resources to help businesses hire or provide an internship, and some funds are available to help pay for the wages of youth workers. Pacific Gateway will provide $250 stipends directly to youth that complete internships, and also will cover the worker’s compensation costs of every youth intern.


A key component of the program is the completion of the National Work Readiness Credential, a 25-hour program all youth complete before being connected to a job or internship.


“The Work Readiness Credential program helps equip youth with the skills they need for the workplace,” said Vivian Shimoyama, Chair, Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board. “Our mission as a public agency is to help prepare residents for today’s jobs, and the Hire-A-Youth program does that for our youngest generation of workers.”


Work-ready youth in the program have attained the National Work Readiness Credential, which certifies that they have learned:

  • How to communicate clearly and work effectively in teams
  • How to be a problem-solver, a decision-maker, and a life-long learner
  • How to better understand math and use it at work to help solve problems
  • How to read time-sheets and job instructions with understanding


Pacific Gateway’s goal is to place 500 youth this summer in jobs and internships.


Businesses that are interested in reaping the benefits of the Hire-A-Youth program are encouraged to get more information by visiting www.pacific-gateway.org or calling Karla Corona, Youth Hiring Specialist, at 562.570.3681.



Top photo (left to right): Greg Roath, Postal Annex; Sandra Christmas, Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines; Mayor Foster; Samone Keo-Mulvihill, Delightful Crepes Cafe; Tom Mulvihill, Delightful Crepes Cafe; Janet Conklin; Sazar Barnes, Hire-a-Youth participant and Delightful Crepes employee; Albert JJ Kwon, Copy Co. USA; Jennifer Kuch, Hire-A-Youth participant and Delightful Crepes employee and Vivian Shimoyama, Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network Board Chair.

Hire a Youth

Mayor Foster presents a certificate of appreciation to Sandra, owner of Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines.



Mayor speaks with Cesar (second from right), a current Delightful Crepes employee who started as a Hire-a-Youth and Delightful Crepes Cafe owner Tom Mulvihill (second from left).

Mayor Foster speaks to some of the diners at the Delightful Crepes Cafe.


Mayor Foster tries his hand at making a crepe.

Mayor Foster tries his hand at making a crepe.

Mayor with Delightful Crepes Cafe owners Samone Keo (left) and Tom Mulvihill (right).



Mayor with Hire-a-Youth participant and current Cafe employee Jennifer Klutch.

Mayor with Hire-a-Youth participant and current Cafe employee Jennifer Kuch.

©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Grand Prix kick-offs construction and Michael’s Pizzeria Grand Opening
Grand Prix

Tuesday was a day of grand openings and kick-offs.


Mayor Foster joined Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian for the kick-off of the first full day of constructing 1.97 miles of track through the streets of Downtown Long Beach.  The 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix will run April 19 – April 21.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

(Left to right) Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association; Mayor Foster; Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT series; and Stephan Papadakis, owner of Papadakis Racing.

Mayor Foster also joined the grand opening of Michael’s Pizzeria on the Promenade.  After the ribbon-cutting, Michael’s Pizzeria in Downtown Long Beach was officially open for business.


Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael's Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach's newest restaurant.

Mayor Foster joins Michael Dene, owner of Michael’s Pizzeria, in front of Long Beach’s newest restaurant.


Michael's Pizzeria

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor joins The Promenade Ribbon Cutting celebration
The Promenade

The Promenade Transformation Complete

A Wonderful New Way to Enjoy all Downtown Has to Offer


Today, Mayor Bob Foster and Councilmember Suja Lowenthal, 2nd District, celebrated the completion of The Promenade, whose pedestrian-oriented transformation connects the Downtown waterfront to three blocks of vastly improved residential, commercial, retail and restaurant venues.


“We are extremely proud of our work here on The Promenade,” Mayor Foster said. “These improvements are a great example of wonderful work of the former Redevelopment Agency that residents, businesses and visitors alike are still benefiting from.”


The Promenade features a beautifully landscaped walkway linking retail centers, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, the Pine Avenue dining and entertainment district and the East Village Arts District. It now features three mixed-use developments, landscape and streetscape improvements, seating, public art plazas, Promenade Square, and a new and expanded Bikestation Long Beach that breathe life into the area.


“The Promenade is now an incredibly inviting public space where we can gather and connect with each other as a community,” Councilmember Lowenthal said. “By encouraging residents and visitors alike to meet, shop, eat, and stroll, we are enhancing the vibrancy of our wonderful Downtown.”

The third and final phase of The Promenade transformation, which was recently completed, includes upgraded storm drains, new hardscape, landscape, pedestrian and special lighting, new traffic signals, gateway signage, community chess tables, a dog rest area and site furnishings. Eight additional bike racks have been added to the nine originally planned for a total of 17 bike racks.


The public is invited to celebrate the newly completed Promenade during a free community mixer on Thursday, February 7, from 5 to 9 pm. The event coincides with the Downtown Long Beach Associates’ (DLBA) annual Celebrate Downtown event, which features the Spirit of Downtown Award; live entertainment; tastings from Promenade restaurants; a pet-friendly environment and free two-hour parking at the CityPlace parking structure. To RSVP please call 562.436.4259. For more information, visit www.downtownlongbeach.org.



The PromenadeThe Promenade

©2010 Bob Foster
Shop Local, Get Deals, Give Thanks…

This is the time that we all start thinking about holiday purchases. We know about “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” but I wanted to remind you about “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 24.


Long Beach businesses are hosting Small Business Saturday and holiday events to welcome you to their businesses. Instead of hitting the mall, here are some great opportunities for you to buy some unique Long Beach holiday gifts:



©2010 Bob Foster
City of Long Beach Streamlining the Business of Doing Business


Mayor Bob Foster and Long Beach Development Services today announced the reorganization of the City’s plan check, permitting and inspection services, which will reduce redundancies, customer wait time and permit fees.


“Streamlining the business of doing business, is the goal of the Long Beach Development Services Department,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “We’re making opening a business here straightforward and sensible. By reducing costs and simplifying the process, Long Beach becomes an even more desirable location for business and job creation.”


The reorganization is key to the City’s strategy to grow and strengthen its business community by removing red tape and being smarter with its resources to make Long Beach even more business-friendly.


The reorganization was accomplished without a budget increase, and benefits residents, businesses and the City of Long Beach as a whole. Businesses get to open their doors earlier, and start selling goods and services. The increased economic activity generates more tax revenue, which funds vital City services.


As part of the Fiscal Year 2012 Government Reform, fire and health plan check, permitting and inspection services have been merged into the Development Service process. This consolidation eliminates overlapping reviews and separate approvals from multiple departments. These efficiencies resulted in a targeted reduction of 15 percent in fees.


The reorganization also provides more consistency and timeliness for customers. Problems get resolved quicker, and customers get more standardized responses and are happier with the service. Customer service ratings at the Development Permit Center have risen from 60 percent positive feedback in 2010 to nearly 90 percent in 2012.


Tracy Ames, owner of the newly opened Red Leprechaun restaurant and pub, praised the new Development Permit Center process for helping her through the plan check, permitting and inspection process, which can be complex due to the many factors involved, including water, fire, health, building, planning, business license, public works, etc.


“The counter experience was great. Having the right people in this department helped me to understand the process, and saved me time and effort,” Ms. Ames said.


Additional benefits for residential and commercial customers include:

  • Customers with simple construction projects can obtain plan review on the same day of their visit to the Development Permit Center on the 4th Floor of City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
  • The service counter was reorganized to reduce wait time. Customer service representatives greet applicants, provide information about the development process and guide them through the necessary station points Development Permit Center for their development.
  • New brochures provide step-by-step guides through the permitting process for various types of businesses, including Retail and Restaurant.


The Development Permit Center is open from Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, except on Wednesdays when it opens at 8:30 am. Appointments are encouraged; e-mail lbds@longbeach.gov or call 562.570.6194. For more information, visit www.lbds.info.

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Mayor Foster presented Tracy Ames, owner of the Red Leprechaun, a certificate of occupancy.

©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Fresh & Easy Grand Opening

Fresh & Easy opened two new stores in Long Beach today at Atlantic Ave./33rd Ave. and Long Beach Blvd./5th St. 

To help celebrate the Fresh & Easy grand openings, Long Beach neighbors to nominate local nonprofits C.A.R.E. Program at St. Mary Medical Center and For The Child  to recieve $1,000 donation at the grand opening from Fresh & Easy. 

Councilmember James Johnson attended the Bixby Knolls Fresh & Easy ribbon cutting while Mayor Foster and Councilmember Robert Garcia attended the Downtown Long Beach ceremony.

Top photo (left to right): Councilmember Robert Garcia, Fresh & Easy store manager Shaun O’Donnell, Mayor Foster and Fresh & Easy vice president and general counsel Mary Kasper.

Fresh & Easy will be giving money to local Long Beach schools through their Shop for Schools program. Mayor Foster, Shaun O'Donnell, Councilmember Garcia and Mary Kasper take a photo with students from the New City School.

(Left to right): C.A.R.E. Program Client Service Manager Robert Stohr, Mayor Foster, Fresh & Easy Shaun O'Donnell and Councilmember Garcia.

©2010 Bob Foster
Mayor Foster Helps to Open Bike-Friendly Business Districts

The nation’s first Bike-Friendly Business Districts were launched Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in Long Beach, to encourage merchants and customers to benefit from choosing bikes, not cars, for short trips.

The Bike-Friendly Business Districts operate under the premise that businesses are looking for ways to reach and retain customers, and customers are looking for ways to shop, dine, and run errands as conveniently and pleasurably as possible.

“Bike-Friendly Business Districts are a win-win for the whole city,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “Bike-Friendly Business Districts encourage merchants to use bicycles for their deliveries and errands, and encourage residents to ride their bikes to shop and dine locally. They promote personal health for residents, and financial health for businesses as they attract more customers, and more sales.”

A grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is providing funding for merchant bicycles, other equipment and promotional events in Bixby Knolls, 4th Street/”Retro Row”, East Village Arts District and Cambodia Town (pending). Beginning Saturday, June 4, participating merchants in the Bike-Friendly Business Districts will offer weekly “Bike Saturday” discounts and incentives for patrons who bike to shop or dine at their businesses.

“Bicycling within our communities is indeed an integral part of local economic development,” said Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, who represents the 8th District. “Bicycling encourages us to shop and dine locally, minimizes traffic and parking issues, reduces pollution, is often faster, always cheaper, and certainly less of a hassle than driving, and is healthy and fun.”

“Long Beach’s Bicycle-Friendly Business Districts aim to increase bicycle and pedestrian trips, and will help local businesses thrive,” said Paul Simon, MD, MPH, Director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “This helps increase physical activity while enhancing the livability of the neighborhood.”

Bike-Friendly Business Districts are funded through the LA County Department of Public Health’s RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness) initiative, which seeks to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce obesity in LA County. RENEW LA County is made possible by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. Other RENEW bike projects include the Countywide Cycling Collaborative’s “Bike Wrangler,” working to collect abandoned and donated used bikes and provide them to residents who need them most for a primary means of transportation. Additionally, the upcoming County of Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan – which will add nearly 700 miles of new bikeways throughout the county – is helping to make the streets friendlier for bicyclists of all skill levels.

For more information, visit http://bikelongbeach.org or http://choosehealthla.com

Mayor Foster shows off one of the merchant cargo bikes.

(left to right) Charles Gandy (Long Beach Mobility Coordinator), Blair Cohn (Bixby Knolls Business Improvement District), Mayor Foster, Councilmember Gabelich, Kerstin Kansteiner (Portfolio Coffeehouse) and Rand Foster (Fingerprints).

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