Long Beach House Hunt: Penthouse or beach house?

In the high-caliber housing market of Los Angeles County, every neighborhood has a distinct style, offering a list of pros and cons that can leave even the surest of buyers second-guessing.

Better views lead to longer commutes. Living closer to the action may mean sacrificing space.

This series digs into these differences, pitting properties against each other in a head-to-head format and allowing the listing agents to proclaim why theirs is best.

Thanks to its historic attractions, stellar seafood spots and one of the world’s largest shipping ports, Long Beach has seen its population steadily rise over the last century.


Depending on the area, the average home there sells for between $500,000 and $800,000. But with a budget of a few million, buyers can scoop up some of the city’s most prime properties.

For $3 million, which would you prefer: a one-of-a-kind penthouse atop a historic building in downtown Long Beach, or a charming beachfront abode on the Peninsula?


Found within a historic building in downtown Long Beach, this unique penthouse offers sweeping views, a massive wraparound balcony and Mills Act status, which helps save on property taxes. It’s listed by Debra Kahookele of Re/Max Estate Properties.

Address: 207 E. Broadway, No. 801, Long Beach, CA 90802

Price: $2.9 million

Specs: Two bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2,810 square feet (5,055-square-foot lot)

The agent’s pitch:

On the market for the first time, this custom-designed penthouse is perched on the rooftop of the historic Insurance Exchange building in the heart of downtown Long Beach. An elevator accesses the architectural floor plan, which uses glass panels to separate the three levels of living space.

Massive windows in every room allow for amazing panoramic views of the city and ocean, and glass double doors open to a wraparound balcony. Other highlights include 16-foot ceilings, walnut treads and floating walls.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Four years ago, it acquired Mills Act [status], which allows a reduction in property taxes in exchange for preservation of the property. To live in this building is a wonderful opportunity, but to live in this rooftop penthouse is a once-in-a-lifetime possibility.

Beach house

Clad in wood shingles, this charming beach house boasts expansive living spaces and an unbeatable location. It’s listed by Chase and Blake Nicolai of Nicolai Real Estate.

Address: 5501 E. Seaside Walk, Long Beach, CA 90803

Price: $2.995 million

Specs: Three bedrooms and four bathrooms in 3,257 square feet (2,906-square-foot lot)

The agent’s pitch:

Offered for the first time in almost 50 years, this iconic Peninsula home is positioned for spectacular ocean views that stretch the entire Long Beach coastline. The house is distinctively situated at the base of the Peninsula with no obstructions to its westerly view, giving it some of the most unique sightlines in the entire city.

The lower level is highlighted by a gracious living room with beautiful vaulted wood ceilings and windows that look out to the sand. As you head up the stairs, you are greeted by a panoramic outlook of Catalina Island, Alamitos Bay, downtown Long Beach and the distant mountains. With such dramatic vistas, spacious bedrooms, bright living areas, a kitchen on each level and a three-car garage, it leaves nothing to be desired.

This property presents itself as a rare opportunity for one to purchase an important piece of the Long Beach Peninsula. It’s a front-row seat for every great sunset.