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GRF to evaluate potential conversion of vacant medical center

Facility outside the gate would be converted into GRF office space

By Sam Richards

Staff writer

(Thursday, April 27): The GRF Board on Thursday approved moving ahead with a study to determine whether it’s practical, or possible, to convert the vacant GRF-owned medical center building just outside Rossmoor into GRF-related office space – perhaps as a replacement for the old, overcrowded Mutual Operations Department (MOD) facility on Rockview Drive.

The 7-0 vote authorizes spending up to $160,000 from the Trust Estate Fund for ELS Architecture and Urban Design, and Rockridge Geotechnical, to evaluate the 31,000-square-foot medical center building at 1220 Rossmoor Parkway for potential reuse. In theory, the structure – which until 2019 housed John Muir Health medical offices – could be refurbished to host GRF departments, most notably MOD.

It could become, Board Member Ted Bentley said, a “one-stop-shop location” that brings several GRF departments together in one space. Rossmoor General Manager Jeff Matheson said such a structure could also help bring spread-out GRF departments under one roof, accessible to residents who don’t drive via Rossmoor shuttle bus.

It is also possible some space there could be rented or leased out to non-GRF tenants.

The evaluation, Matheson said, will help GRF officials determine whether it’s economically feasible to renovate the medical building, or whether it should go back on the market.

“Until we do the full analysis, we really don’t know what we have to gain,” Matheson said.

The building has been vacant since John Muir left, and twice since then was almost sold, Matheson told the Board. But the more recent sale fell through a few months ago, and the building was then taken off the market.

The medical center was built in 1971, on fill, and probably because of that the building has experienced “settling” issues for a long time. Determining whether such issues will affect what is done with the building, Matheson said, is why the geotechnical firm is being brought in.

The current 12,000-square-foot MOD building on Rockview Drive on Rossmoor’s east edge, a converted warehouse space, is old, cramped and frequently in need of repair. Replacing it, at an estimated cost of $17 million, is the most prominent item of GRF’s 10-year Facilities Master Plan.

On April 20, the GRF Planning Committee voted to recommend that the Finance Committee endorse the medical center study, and five days later, the Finance Committee made a similar recommendation to the GRF Board.

Matheson said GRF can end the study at any of several points, should it be quickly apparent that useful conversion of the building is impossible or impractical.

Facility Usage Fee increase

Also on Thursday, the GRF Board unanimously approved increasing the Facility Usage Fee charged to Rossmoor manor lessees from $50 per person per month to $70 per person per month and increase the lease processing fee from $150 to $200.

The Facility Usage Fee is a key mechanism through which Rossmoor manor lessees contribute to the cost of capital equipment purchases of over $5,000. Manor owners pay a one-time Membership Transfer Fee, recently increased to $12,500; these fees pay for GRF capital projects. The original MTF amount was $9,000; given an average 15-year length of ownership of Rossmoor manors by a given owner, that has worked out to $50 a month.

The current Membership Transfer fee of $12,500 would work out, over 15 years, to $70 a month, hence last week’s corresponding increase in Facility Usage Fee.

GRF collected $66,750 in Facility Usage Fee payments in 2022.

Thursday’s vote included guidance to consider raising the usage fee any time the Membership Transfer Fee is increased.

Director of Communications Ann Peterson and Application Support Specialist Javier Roman offered the Board an overview of the 2-year-old website/portal, through which Rossmoor residents can accomplish various tasks ranging from booking golf tee times to buying concert tickets to contacting Rossmoor club leaders to booking space in Rossmoor facilities.

Peterson said the latest resident feature through is email bulletins from several Rossmoor operations, including GRF administration, Recreation, Alterations, the Rossmoor News, Public Safety and others. She noted that the email bulletins provide immediacy in getting various types of information to residents, and that residents can subscribe to specific bulletins according to what they most care about.

Peterson said that, so far, 77% of these email bulletins have been opened – a much higher rate than typical city-sponsored bulletins or those issued by newspapers or other media. The goal, she said, is for all Rossmoor departments to eventually be putting out such email bulletins.

When GRF Board President Dwight Walker asked what the difference is between and the more established, Peterson replied that the former is geared for Rossmoor residents, and the latter toward non-residents, particularly those evaluating Rossmoor as a prospective new home.

Roman said 2,366 residents had logged in to at least once.

If there’s an emergency …

While talking about the requirement for Rossmoor residents to register their golf carts with Securitas, Golf Advisory Committee Chairman Burke Ferrari noted that most of Rossmoor’s golf carts have a sticker on them, advising to call 9-1-1 first in any emergency on the golf course (or anywhere else, for that matter). Securitas, he said, should be the second call in such an emergency.