By Gary Walker
An unexpected surprise awaited Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl at a ceremony celebrating the Del Rey Square senior housing facility April 12.
The unveiling of the Bill Rosendahl Senior Housing Community was the epilogue to a morning of festivities built around speeches, food and a tour of the senior living complex at the corner of Inglewood and Culver boulevards.
Rosendahl, who represents Del Rey and worked with developer Thomas Safran for several years to bring the 124-unit residence to the community, appeared to be stunned when he learned that the building was named after him. News of the decision to name Del Rey Square after the councilman had been leaked that morning to certain members of the media.
Del Rey Square houses veterans, low-income residents and those who are homeless. The development consists of project-based Section 8 units, tax-credit and public housing units, as well as spaces dedicated to transition for 31 formerly homeless civilians and veterans, say representatives of Thomas Safran and Associates.
Residents will pay approximately 30 percent of their income for their rent.
Rosendahl was his typical humble self when asked about the building that now bears his name.
“I consider it an honor, but these kinds of things, helping to bring affordable housing to my communities, is part of my job,” the councilman told The Argonaut.
In addition to the 31 former homeless tenants, 91 residents at Del Rey Square make less than $20,000 a year, according to Rosendahl’s office.
“It was the vision of Bill Rosendahl and our city partners, Los Angeles Housing Authority and Los Angeles Housing Department that helped make this incredible housing opportunity and solution for seniors, veterans and homeless people in our city,” said Safran. “We worked closely with our partners toward the same goal: to help our seniors live independently as long as possible in an affordable, elegant and safe environment.”
Mark Redick, who was the president of the Del Rey Neighborhood Council when the senior housing complex was approved by his board, said Del Rey Square has the potential to transform the surrounding neighborhoods.
“What people need to remember is there was a vacant lot on this property before this complex was built,” Redick recalled. “I stand proud that I and others helped to approve this parcel of land to be transformed into a quality development for older Americans, many of them who have served our county with honor and dignity.
“Del Rey Square will be a benefit and not blight to the community.”
Creating affordable housing has long been a priority of Rosendahl’s. “We’ve used a number of unique, creative strategies to develop more affordable housing in my district,” he said.
The formerly homeless who reside at Del Rey Square will receive assistance from St. Joseph Center in Venice to help ensure their successful transition. Safran representatives say the developer’s company will also have a full-time staff person to aid them.
Redick, who is now the vice president of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa, said naming the complex after the councilman was an appropriate gesture. “This is a very fitting tribute to a man who has done a lot for Del Rey,” he said.