Developer reveals plans for senior living facility in East Long Beach

Operators of a multinational chain of senior living homes want to develop a new project in East Long Beach, and on Wednesday night they presented their plans to residents for what could be an 86-unit facility if the city approves it.

Sunrise Senior Living, which runs 332 communities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, wants to build on a site just south of Wardlow Road and Los Coyotes Diagonal.

Phillip Kroskin, senior vice president of real estate for Sunrise, said that the project would consist of 86 units, with 109 beds that would serve seniors who need assisted living help as well as memory care.

Fifty of the units would be for assisted living with the remaining 36 reserved for memory care. The project would be buffered from surrounding residences from existing buildings to the north, east and south of the proposed site.

The two-story project would be built behind the recently closed Ralph’s grocery store on Los Coyotes Diagonal and could cost as much as $50 million. Sunrise has no plans to expand the project footprint to take over the vacant grocery store site, Kroskin said.

“We’re going to stick with the 86 units and let someone else figure out the best use of that building, Kroskin said.

An overhead rendering of the proposed project with Los Coyotes Diagonal on the left and Wardlow Road at the top.

The project is in the very early review stages required by the city for a project of this size.

It’s currently in the pre-application process and the public meeting came at the request of Councilwoman Stacy Mungo Flanigan, who said she encourages all developers to meet with constituents early to get feedback from the community.

“Not every business takes me up on it and, as is the nature of economics, not all proposed projects move forward or are appropriate for any given area,” Mungo wrote in an email to residents. “However, they should do it because it is the right thing to do.”

A housing developer backed out of proposed plans to build residential housing at the site in 2018 after residents opposed the project at a similar meeting.

If Sunrise decides to move forward with the project, it will have to submit a full site-plan review to the city as well as apply for a conditional-use permit to operate the senior living facility on that parcel said Patricia Diefenderfer, the city’s planning bureau manager. Both of those would have to be approved by the city’s Planning Commission.

The project would also require a traffic analysis to determine how it would affect vehicle flow in the area as well as a noise study and water and air quality analyses.

Kroskin said that he was hopeful that the project could get through that process in the next eight months and construction could start as soon as late 2022 or early 2023.

He added that it typically takes about 19 months for Sunrise projects to be built, which means it could open by 2024 if Sunrise decides to move ahead with its proposal and gains city approval.

Residents were generally supportive of the project but raised concerns about the effect on parking and the city’s emergency response network.

The project currently includes 51 parking spaces, some of which will be used by employees, but Kroskin noted that most of the residents won’t drive. The average age of their guests is 84 or older, Kroskin said.

He said that, on average, their facilities could see about seven to 10 ambulances per month.

Sunrise operates similar facilities in Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and Palos Verdes. Kroskin said that the price points at the Long Beach site would be comparable to the one in Seal Beach and the region as a whole.

A studio suite at the Seal Beach facility starts at $182 per day. A two-room suite is $249 per day.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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