Palm Springs took a major step Friday in cementing its reputation as one of the most welcoming communities in America, breaking ground on the flagship project intended to set the bar for housing aimed specifically at the older LGBTQ+ community.
After delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of Living Out, described as “a community designed to provide a beautiful, welcoming, safe, and inclusive living experience that celebrates the vibrancy of living authentically as an LGBTQ person,” has officially begun at a nine-acre site off East Tahquitz Canyon Way.
“It is a monumental groundbreaking,” proclaimed developer Loren Ostrow in remarks before the ceremonial shovels hit the dirt. “It’s something our community doesn’t have anywhere else in the country.”
When complete in early 2023, the 55 and older residents who live at the project will have is not just a home, but what could amount to a paradise. Ostrow and development partner Paul Alanis, along with 85 investors, originally applied to build more than 100 condominiums at the site. They now plan for those units to be apartments on grounds that resemble a resort. Amenities will include not only the traditional pools and spas, but also an upscale restaurant and bar, fitness center, massage studio, a hair salon, and more.
Such housing is needed, experts say, to combat unique issues faced by older members of the LGBTQ+ population. Seniors who are gay, lesbian, and transgender are more than twice as likely to live alone, and half as likely to have life partners or close relatives to call for help.
“This is not just a groundbreaking,” said LuAnn Boylan, president and CEO of the company providing marketing and sales services for the project. “It’s something extraordinarily different and meaningful and timely.”
Different has been a calling card for Palm Springs, which has a global reputation as an inclusive place for people of all identities, proudly described by Mayor Christy Holstege Friday as, “the gayest community in America,” that’s, “just going to get gayer and gayer with projects like this.”
Knowing that life outside the city is much different for many in the LGBTQ+ community, Ostrow said he hopes Living Out will be a model for similar projects elsewhere.
“I can’t think of a better time to celebrate a groundbreaking like this and a better place to celebrate a groundbreaking,” said Ostrow, noting that Friday’s event coincided with this weekend’s Greater Palm Springs Pride event. “Society is still not over the hump for people like us.”