Land for Planned Gay Retirement Home Foreclosed

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday December 17, 2008

The recession has hit the housing market hard, including planned communities for retirees.

That is no less true when it comes to housing for GLBT seniors.

Across the country, planned communities for retiring gays and lesbians have been on the drawing board, but have had a hard time getting underway.

One such project, undertaken by RainbowVision California LLC, has suffered a setback with the land intended for a planned retirement community catering to the silver GLBT set reverting to a lender for the project.

The lender, Senior Housing Partners III, retook the land in a foreclosure auction, reported the Palm Springs newspaper The Desert Sun in a Dec. 17 article.

The planned community had enjoyed promotion by tennis star Billie Jean King, the article said, but the economic realities of the situation forced the project to stall.

The article quoted RainbowVision president Joy Silver, who said, "The only thing stopping us is the economy--the fact that banks have not been in a position to make construction loans.

"We plan to move forward as soon as the economy allows."

RainbowVision has already laid claim to the nation's first GLBT retirement community, which is up and running in Santa Fe, NM.

Other retirement communities for older gays and lesbians have followed suit, such as The Palms of Manasota in Florida, and Birds of a Feather in Pecos, NM.

But the delay in the construction of the Palm Springs community is also not unique: the development of Boston's LGBT retirement project Stonewall Communities was put on hold earlier this year.

The new community in Palm Springs was designed to include nearly 200 units, along with community amenities such as a nightclub, pool, spa, club house, and caf?, as well as athletic facilities.

The company hopes that once the economy recovers, RainbowVision will be able to buy the land back once again and proceed with construction.

Meantime, some of the seniors interested in the Palm Springs community have decided to relocate to Santa Fe instead, to the already-operating GLBT retirement community there.

"The [GLBT retirement community] model works; we know it," said Silver of the Santa Fe location.

"We're seeing a rise in occupancy there."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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