LONG BEACH - The North Promenade gleamed under the morning sun Wednesday, pedestrian walkways bright, drought-resistant plants lining the path and chess tables awaiting players.

It wasn't always that way, said officials gathered to celebrate the completion of the third and final phase to revitalize the three-block stretch of downtown.

Mayor Bob Foster said the space between Third Street and Broadway Avenue was underutilized, unattractive and poorly lit.

Now, Foster said, "It really is a place that will attract people to downtown.

"It's going to be usable, enjoyed, and it's going to have great commercial activity."

The revitalization of the Promenade was one of the last projects funded by the city's now-defunct redevelopment agency.

More than $11 million was spent on pedestrian-oriented improvements on the Promenade from Ocean Boulevard to Third Street, connecting the waterfront to residential, retail and restaurants venues north of Ocean Boulevard.

Additional improvements included upgraded storm drains, landscaping, lighting, new traffic signals, gateway signs, site furnishings, a dog area and bike racks.

Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal said the new Promenade captures the "essence of urban lifestyle."

"It has made way for more inviting, purposeful public space where we can gather together as a community," Lowenthal said.

Improvements at the North Promenade have attracted new businesses, such as Michael's Pizzeria, which opens to the public on Valentine's Day.

Restaurateur Michael Dene, who also owns Michael's on Naples, said the location is his third pizzeria.

"I think it has tremendous potential," Dene of the area.

Dene envisioned the Promenade as one day being a place of commerce and gathering like the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

"I'm encouraged by the tenant occupancies and the city's efforts in beautifying the area," he said.

eric.bradley@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1254, twitter.com/EricBradleyPT