(2009 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB; during the now-ended process, the cupola-topped Seaview Building became an official city landmark)
It’s been three years since the historic West Seattle retirement complex known as The Kenney first went public with an ambitious – and controversial – plan to redevelop much of its Fauntleroy Way campus and dramatically expand its capacity. (WSB broke the story in August 2008 – here’s our first report.) The plan has undergone a variety of changes along the way – with myriad community meetings, both part of the official process, and part of the organization seeking feedback. Last summer, The Kenney had told us the plan was in “retooling mode”; but now, most of the plan is being shelved, at least for a few years, according to this announcement just in from The Kenney management:
(Today) The Kenney will remove the four Notice of Proposed Land Use Action signs that line the perimeter of their campus.
“There are a couple of issues,” says Kevin McFeely, President and CEO of The Kenney. “For one, there’s a new economic reality we’re facing that people are having a much harder time selling their home; something that’s concurrent with moving into a retirement community. Second, it’s much tougher to find lenders for new building projects. As we looked at this project we realized the need to scale down the redevelopment plan to continue to reach the needs of our current residents, our future residents and our neighbors.”
The focus for The Kenney will be on how to improve their current campus and programs. “The people that are inquiring into The Kenney are of a different mindset than those we’ve seen in the past,” says McFeely. “They want choices of programs and amenities, smaller but more efficient use of space apartments and options for various lifestyles. We’ve decided to concentrate on upgrading the infrastructure of our 100 year old campus, expanding our programs and services, and focusing on how we can reach the needs and wants of the seniors of the future.”
Redevelopment is not out of sight, however. The Kenney has begun the plans for a Memory Care Unit to be open fall/winter of 2011. There’s also more building on the horizon, but it may be a few years away. “We do need to have more people on campus in order to survive as a community,” says McFeely. “Not the original 400 we had once planned, but maybe 275-300. This new project will most likely start in the next two to five years.”
When the original $150 million redevelopment plan was announced in 2008, there was some community unrest. “I’d like to thank the community for hanging in there with us,” says McFeely. “We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the plan and I know it’s been tough not knowing. Scaling back will really meet the needs of our community.”
Our archive of coverage of that process is here, newest to oldest.