By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
Pacifica Companies, owner of the Sakura Intermediate Care Facility in Boyle Heights and the other former Keiro facilities, has applied to the City of Los Angeles to convert the ICF into a multifamily building.
The project description: “Conversion of 48-unit and 90-bed intermediate care facility to a 45-unit multifamily building. Construction of 50 units, 40,000 SF (square-foot) multifamily building. Construction of parking garage.”
Pacifica purchased the ICF, Keiro Retirement Home (now Sakura Gardens), adjacent to ICF in Boyle Heights, and Keiro Nursing Homes in Lincoln Heights and Gardena (now Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center and Kei-Ai South Bay Healthcare Center) in 2016 with the California Attorney General’s Office stipulating that the current services incorporating Japanese language and culture would be maintained for five years. That period ends in February 2021.
Keiro ICF opened in 1977. It was closed in 1995 for major refurbishment and reopened in 1999. Intermediate care facilities are licensed by the California Department of Public Health, as are skilled nursing facilities. As defined by licensing, ICFs provide inpatient care to persons who need skilled nursing supervision and supportive care, but do not require continuous nursing care.
As is the case with the nursing homes, activities for residents and entry by family members and volunteers are currently restricted due to the COVID-19 situation.
In an Aug. 24 email to the Little Tokyo Historical Society, David Silvas of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council said, “As a planning and land use chair of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, I feel it is necessary to inform the Japanese American community about this proposal as it not only is altering the site, but may affect the current culture of facility (this remains unknown).
“The Sakura Gardens project is on our Planning and Land Use Committee meeting agenda for [Thursday] Sept. 10, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
“I encourage members of the Little Tokyo Historical Society to attend, and let members of the Japanese American community know about this project as there will be a section for public comment.”
“Discussion and possible action on 325 S. Boyle Ave.” is No. 5 on the agenda. Scheduled speaker is Ryley Webb of Pacifica Senior Living.
Each individual who wants to make a comment will be allowed two minutes. Japanese and Spanish translation will be available.
To participate via Zoom, go to: https://zoom.us/j/99385767952
To participate via phone, call: (888) 475-4499, Meeting ID 993 8576 7952
Also serving on the BHNC are board members Vivian Escalante and Alma Catalan and stakeholders Armando Martinez, La Tanya Hill and Paul Keilbach, with one stakeholder seat vacant.
Silvas said that the issue will eventually go to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
Concerned individuals and organizations have also been asked to email questions to Pacifica leaders, particularly what will happen to the current residents and staff of ICF and whether the attorney general’s conditions could be extended one more year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Rafu has also reached out to a Pacifica executive and is awaiting a response.