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Firm seeks to establish elderly care facility

A La Jolla investment firm has applied for a conditional use permit with the city to convert a building at 484 Prospect St. in La Jolla from office use into an elderly residential care facility.

The application with the city came from Scripps Investment Trust, which owns the building.

La Jolla architect Jim Alcorn announced the project at the Planned District Ordinance Committee meeting on Aug. 10. Should it come to pass, the new tenant of the building would be Scripps Elderly Residential Care.

“It’s in Ken Smith’s old advertising building, which once was doctor’s offices for a hospital, and, for a variety of years, has had a number of tenants,” said Joe LaCava, president of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA). “This application is looking for a different kind of use broadly characterized as assisted living.”

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But the proposal has at least one major planning hurdle to clear.

“The question is, does the new use conform with the current Planned District Ordinance (PDO) zoning on the property?” asked LaCava, who added that the objective is to protect the integrity of the ordinance and not cater to any particular building or user.

Alcorn said his client wishes to convert the 15,000-square-foot, three-story building at 464 Prospect St. to accommodate 40 to 56 residents.

“It has been office space for a long time, but it’s in a residential zone,” he said. “The idea is to turn it into an advanced care facility for ambulatory and nonambulatory patients, like those with Alzheimer’s.”

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Alcorn added that the new facility would absolutely not be used for a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center as has been rumored.

“That would kill it (development) straight away,” he noted. “What we’re trying to do is change the conditional use permit from office use to extended elderly care only.”

Once the application process with the city is complete, Alcorn said he and his client would return to make presentations on the project to La Jolla’s planning advisory groups.