Garden Grove

Kicking the rust from the ‘skeleton’

GROUND was broken Tuesday afternoon for the Garden Brook Senior Village in Garden Grove (Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

For over a decade, the “rusty skeleton” was Garden Grove’s least popular landmark. The steel bones of an unfinished structure, festooned with graffiti, the building on Garden Grove Boulevard was a sort of poster child for busted dreams.

But on Tuesday, the first symbolic steps were taken toward making that eyesore into an eye-catching attraction at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Garden Brook Senior Village.

ALEXIS GEVORGIAN of AMG & Associates.

Originally conceived as a mixed-use condo project located just west of Brookhurst Street called the Garden Grove Galleria, the building is being reborn as nearly 400 units of senior citizen housing – most of it classified as “affordable” – fronted by several ground-level units of retail.

Developer Alexis Georgian of AMG & Associates led off the proceedings speaking of how the location of the reborn project adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove facility, would allow for a multi-generational interaction that would benefit the elderly and the young.

“This is not an ordinary senior citizen housing project,” he said.

City Manager Scott Stiles said “This is a great day and a great occasion for Garden Grove. He added “if there’s one site, one project that I’ve heard more about than any other site in Garden Grove since I’ve been here, it’s ‘the steel skeleton.’ And probably with this groundbreaking, in my mind, we’re removing one more psychological barrier in our drive to re-imagine Garden Grove in a big way.”

SCOTT STILES, Garden Grove’s city manager.

The origin of the project goes back decades. The land on which it is located is owned by the Hoag Foundation, which is the benefactor of the local Boys and Girls Club.

Used for years as the rented home of car dealerships, the land was later earmarked for the Galleria with a 2006 starting goal. Construction began, but stopped with the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.

Much legal wrangling took place, and at one point, the City of Garden Grove was poised to require the abandoned project to be demolished.

Eventually, developers, financing and managers were located and assembled, and the next  – and hopefully last – leg of the journey is underway.

GARDEN BROOK SENIOR VILLAGE, artist’s rendering.

 

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