Redondo Beach city and school district officials recently joined builders of Kensington Senior Living at Knob Hill Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway to mark the groundbreaking for the project many years in the making.
The Redondo Beach School District, owners of the 3.37 acres, has been trying to do something with the former grade school for the past 25 years, according to Brad Waller, school board president.
“It’s progress more than anything,” Waller said, before symbolically plunging a silver shovel into the ground. “This will turn this site into a tremendous resource for our community and I look forward to something looking good on this site after such a long time.”
Under a 99-year lease agreement with the city, Kensington will pay $614,000 per year, with rate increases factored in over time.
Waller said in choosing to lease the property to Kensington, the school district is not making any financial sacrifice as other bids that came forward, including a housing development and a Whole Foods, were presented with lower offers.
When it’s completed by the summer of 2019, the 87,000 square-foot development will encompass 94 units, housing up to 120 residents in assisted living settings to memory care. Voters approved Measure K in 2016 with 64.5 percent of the vote to change the zoning and make the development possible.
Dan Gorham, a founding member of Kensington, which operates six other assisted living centers across the country, said the cost to build the center in Redondo Beach is about twice that per unit compared to similar developments.
There’s no word yet on how much it will cost residents to live there, though Gorham said the interior will have high quality finishes and furnishings. Sometime in the summer to fall of 2018 the information and marketing center will open in the refurbished building at the site of the original Patterson Elementary School, Gorham said.
“Residents want to feel it and see it,” Gorham said. “Typically a decision is made within four to six months of moving in.”
When the property opens, Gorham predicts about 30 percent of the units will already be leased.
"We're thrilled about being in Redondo," he said. "This is going to be great."