LONG BEACH - The Port of Long Beach's more than 300 staff members may move later this year, a port official said Monday.
Looking at all the activities associated with the move, from securing permits and city approvals to transitioning staff members and furniture, the projected move date will likely be close to late 2013, said Doug Thiessen, managing director of engineering at the port who oversees the port's design, construction management and program management divisions.
"We'll try to do it earlier, but fourth quarter 2013 is looking more realistic," he told the Board of Harbor Commissioners.
Commissioner Doug Drummond said the moving process should be accelerated.
"Since this building is evaluated as a risk, I'd like to get the employees out of here as soon as possible," Drummond said, adding that the board could temporarily use City Hall for meetings until they are ready to move the meetings to the new space.
Costly earthquake retrofitting requirements and asbestos and lead-based paint issues have prompted port officials to make plans to move staff out of the 53-year- old building at 925 Harbor Plaza in the port complex.
But relocation efforts, which have been more than a decade in the making, have been stymied by politics in the past two years, from Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster's veto of a new $220 million headquarters near the current location to the lack of a majority approval for the purchase of the World Trade Center on Ocean Boulevard.
The board and the City Council recently approved the $14.25 million purchase of 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, a former Boeing Co. building near the Long Beach Airport, for a temporary headquarters.
In the coming weeks, the board is expected to vote on funding requests for contacts to build out the temporary space.
Meanwhile, a permanent location downtown to replace the aging and seismically unsound administration building is yet to be determined.