July 23, 2021
Healthy Living Campus Overview (2017-2021)
About the BCHD Campus

Our community has the rare and exciting opportunity to reimagine our 11-acre campus to chart the future of preventive health in the Beach Cities. This once-in-a-generation project aims to purposefully create an intergenerational, vibrant, modern campus where residents can engage in healthy behaviors, form meaningful connections and be well…for generations to come. 

Beach Cities Healthy Living Campus Grounded in the Future
By Tom Bakaly, BCHD CEO
For more than 60 years, Beach Cities Health District has played a vital role in improving and promoting the health of our community, initially as the founder of South Bay Hospital and more recently as a provider of innovative services, and facilities, with a focus on health and wellness. As the District evolves to meet the changing needs of our community, it is now planning its next phase — the Healthy Living Campus.

The Healthy Living Campus will be a comprehensive center to promote health and wellness for all ages. Included will be services and facilities to serve our seniors, particularly the frail elderly who might otherwise have no option but to live their final years in a nursing home. It will include residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), with one plan being considered calling for 10 percent of units offered at below market rates, a facility for memory care, and a Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (“PACE”) to help our seniors – particularly those with below average income levels – age gracefully in their own homes. The Campus will also feature open space equivalent to two soccer fields for outdoor activities and a youth wellness behavioral health center that supports all youth ages 12-25 in the Beach Cities.

Recently, a very small number of residents have attempted to deny our seniors the benefits of the Healthy Living Campus. These few residents have unfairly assigned motives to BCHD’s response to over 600 public records requests. While the District welcomes open debate about the pros and cons of its project, it does not welcome specious attacks based on misinformation and unsupported legal arguments. Unfortunately, that is what we witnessed in last week’s editorial in the Easy Reader.

In the editorial, Robert Pinzler falsely asserts that the District “cannot legally build its new campus as proposed.” He bases his assertion on the false assumption the District does not have lawful title to its property, or if it does, it is somehow limited to owning or operating a hospital on that property.

Pinzler cites no legal authority for his conclusion because there is none. He also fails to mention that the District gave him a copy of the actual Deed dated December 12, 1957, whereby the Redondo Improvement Company, the former owner of the property, transferred its rights in the property to the District. The Deed contains no restrictions whatsoever on the future use of the property.

Instead of the deed, Mr. Pinzler attempts to rely on a “Judgement of Condemnation” in 1957 that approved the District’s purchase of the property by eminent domain, because it then planned to use the property for the “construction, completion and operation of a hospital thereon in order to provide hospital services.” Of course, constructing and operating a hospital is exactly what the District did.

Not until more than 30 years later did the hospital cease operations. Since then, the District has reconfigured the hospital campus to provide an extensive array of health services to the community, all in compliance with changes in state law that vastly expanded the scope of services that “health care districts” may provide, including “retirement programs, services and facilities.” The State of California changed the law and the name of Districts (not BCHD as Mr. Pinzler suggests) to recognize the fact that there is more to providing health services than hospitals. 

Pinzler would have us believe that if a public entity lawfully acquires property for a public use and fulfills its original public use for more than 30 years, it may never change that use – even if the original use is no longer feasible and state law expressly allows other uses. There is absolutely nothing in the law that supports his proposition.   

In order to initially acquire a property by eminent domain, a governmental entity must have public use, but no law requires that such use be implemented in the same fashion in perpetuity. Tellingly, even the Judgment in Condemnation upon which Pinzler relies does not require it.

The District’s legal authority to develop the Healthy Living Campus as a public use as proposed in the draft Master Plan is clear and unequivocal. 
Feature Heading
Seismic Status of the 514 Building

Earthquake danger is one of the trade-offs we all make to live in beautiful Southern California and the Beach Cities.   

A thorough financial and seismic review, which included calculating escalating maintenance costs, concluded it is more cost-effective to rebuild BCHD's former hospital building – built to 1950’s seismic standards – than to retrofit.  

BCHD’s mission is to provide preventive health and wellness programs and services for residents. We must be proactive in addressing potential seismic occurrences on our proposed Healthy Living Campus to maintain the assets that help fund the more than 40 programs and services BCHD provides to the community. 

For the past four years, BCHD has been working with the project's Community Working Group and a team of financial, architectural and structural consultants to evaluate ideas and concepts to create redevelopment plans. 

Nabih Youssef, recognized as an expert in seismic design and a world leader in earthquake engineering, analyzed the vulnerability of BCHD’s main campus building. (It is the current home to Silverado Memory Care with 120 residents and staff; UCLA Health; and our Care Management program and Center for Health & Fitness with roughly 2,000 members.)  

Youssef’s conclusion: “Given the vulnerability of the building and the poor performance of non-ductile concrete buildings in past earthquakes, demolition is prudent.”  The Redondo Beach General Plan suggests non-ductile concrete frame buildings, such as 514 Prospect, should ultimately be “upgraded, relocated or phased out.” 

We also explored the possibility of retrofitting the building, bringing the north tower and south tower, built in 1958 and 1968 respectively, up to current seismic standards, but that was simply not financially feasible. Cain Brothers, a highly regarded healthcare investment bank, evaluated the financial consequences and concluded the total cost of retrofitting the 514 building would be approximately $119 million, including construction costs, tenant build-out credits and contingency. The Health District also enlisted the opinion of CBRE/Manhattan Beach, a local affiliate of the world’s largest commercial real estate investment firm, and their independent evaluation determined that retrofitting was not a financially feasible strategy. 

Additionally, since 2017, BCHD staff has been addressing campus challenges at community meetings, workshops and open houses, adapting the proposed project in response to input from engaged citizens.   

A seismic upgrade is not required by law, however we are taking a long-term and proactive approach. As a public agency, health and safety are paramount. The campus is a community asset and it is BCHD’s mandate to maintain and operate the building on behalf of residents.  

Like all large, visionary projects, the Healthy Living Campus has been a heavy lift for both BCHD and the community. BCHD has consulted experts, residents, business leaders and civic officials, refined the proposed project and made trade-offs to develop a safe, viable path forward to meet our community’s health needs.  

On July 19, 2021 the Properties Committee instructed staff to look into other seismic assessments regarding risk and deficiencies as an alternative to a peer review of Nabih Youssef & Associates current structural evaluation.
Follow Along
Visit bchdcampus.org and follow us on social media for accurate information about the proposed Healthy Living Campus. Available resources include photo renderings, the Draft EIR, videos on key Draft EIR findings, presentations and reports from the Community Working Group, copies of analysis and reports from technical experts and more. If your civic group or community organization would like to request an informational presentation on the project, please email HLCInfo@bchd.org to schedule a meeting.
State of the Current BCHD Campus
extending from Diamond to Beryl and Prospect to Flagler
and former hospital site does not currently meet tenant needs and is in need of seismic upgrade
is our financial window of opportunity to address escalating building maintenance costs
Project Pillars
Build a center of excellence
focusing on wellness,
prevention & research

Leverage the campus to expand community health programs & services
Focus on emerging
technologies, innovation & accessibility

Create an intergenerational
hub of well-being, using
Blue Zones Project
Actively engage the
community & pursue

Grow a continuum of
programs, services &
facilities to help older adults age in their community
2009-2020 Campus Analysis
In 2009, architectural engineering firm HEERY International (later acquired by CBRE, Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis), conducted an extensive analysis of the campus, the District’s financial position, and possibilities for protecting the community’s asset. The recommendation was that Residential Care for the Elderly would be the best use of the campus, ensuring the greatest return on investment while fulfilling and aligning with BCHD’s vision and mission.

  • Initial Market Demand Study
  • Community Needs Assessment (snapshot)
  • Topographic Survey
  • Geotechnical Assessment
  • Seismic Evaluation
  • Design-Build Authority at State Level, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (AB 994) (2018)
  • Updated Market Feasibility Study (2018)
  • Updated Market Feasibility Study (2019)
  • Campus Discussion with staff at Strategic Planning Meeting
  • Board Planning Sessions

To view an archive of these documents, please visit bchdcampus.org/campus.
Community Outreach
A public outreach process has been ongoing since 2017, made up of a Community Working Group, meetings, open houses and study circles.

Valued insights from neighbors, residents, community leaders and organizations--as well as information gathered from structural and financial consultants--formed the foundation of revisions to BCHD's Healthy Living Campus.

Community Working Group
May 2017
BCHD formed a Community Working Group made up of residents, leaders and stakeholders to help develop the project. The Group met 17 times.
Open Houses
Oct. 2017 & March 2019
BCHD held two open houses to engage the community. The events enabled residents to provide comments directly to project team members.
Livability Design Expert
Dec. 2017
Dan Burden, Blue Zones director of inspiration & innovation and one of TIME Magazine's most important civic innovators in the world, met with BCHD to discuss how to create a healthy, vibrant and connected community.
Study Circle #1: Intergenerational Programs
June 2018
Study Circle #2:
Gathering Spaces
Aug. 2018
Study Circle #3:
Center of Excellence
Sept. 2018
In 2018, BCHD took a broader look at the campus and held three study circles on Intergenerational Programs, Community Gathering Spaces and Center of Excellence. Each study circle included presentations on each subject and provided opportunities for participants to supply their perspectives, experiences and opinions.
Overview of Proposed Plans
Healthy Living Campus planning has been a multi-year endeavor. The proposed project has undergone four revisions based on community feedback and input from expert structural and financial consultants.
2017 Initial Concept (version 1)
  • 2017 Initial Concept (V1) featured the addition of buildings with renovations to the existing hospital building.

  • 2017 Revised Initial Concept (V2 and V3) featured changes to the orientation and height of the structures based on community feedback.

  • What we heard about the 2017 concept: concerns about density, reduce building heights, minimize impacts, add more green space and accessibility, integrate with community, create gathering spaces and intergenerational uses
2019 Master Plan Concept (version 2)
  • After learning more about structural issues with the 514 building, BCHD took a broader look at the campus with a Master Plan approach.

  • The 2019 Master Plan featured a whole-campus redesign with demolition of the 514 building, added 420 Residential Care for the Elderly units, a Community Wellness Pavilion and maximized open space.

  • What we heard about the 2019 concept: reduce RCFE units, decrease construction time, concerns over Flagler Lane traffic, environmental impacts and building orientation.
2020 Master Plan Concept (version 3)
  • The 2020 proposed plan will be analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which:

  • Shortens construction time from nine to five years (in two phases instead of three)

  • Reduces RCFE units from 420 to 220

  • Includes an aquatics center, youth wellness center and 2.5 acres of open space.
Today's Plans for the Healthy Living Campus
CEQA Process Overview
  • The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires state and local agencies within California to analyze proposed construction projects and provide an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) detailing potential environmental impacts and outlining measures to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. Below is BCHD'S tentative CEQA timeline.
The refined draft Healthy Living Campus master plan, presented at the June 17, 2020 BCHD Board of Directors meeting, was developed from community feedback. 
The Board endorsed a project description to continue the EIR process ⁠— originally started in June 2019 ⁠— with the more compact Healthy Living Campus master plan as the basis of the project description. This blueprint will inform the public and project decision-makers about significant environmental effects and identify possible ways to minimize or avoid those effects. 

The updated, more compact draft master plan includes:  
Fewer Units: Residential Care for the Elderly (RCFE) units drop from 420 to 220. Pricing has yet to be determined. One plan being considered will offer 10 percent of units at below market rates. 
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare/Medicaid program that provides comprehensive medical and social services to older adults.  

A Community Wellness Pavilion with public meeting spaces, demonstration kitchen, modernized Center for Health & Fitness and aquatics center in Phase two. Phase one includes a Youth Wellness Center, PACE and RCFE.
Smaller New Building Area: New on-campus building footprint drops 18% compared to the 2019 plan.
Less Construction Time: Active construction time is shortened from nine to five years in two phases (instead of three). 
2.5 acres of open space for programming to replace acres of asphalt. 
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Healthy Living Campus: