A vote to amend Sierra Madre's Measure V and thereby permit development of an assisted living facility consistent with Kensington Assisted Living Facility Specific Plan will be on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot for citizens of the city as Measure ALF. But, do you know anything about Fountain Square Development LLC and the background of its founder-spokesman William D. Shields?
Fountain Square Development West, LLC, is headquartered in Poway, Ca. The company is a real estate development operation moving big-time into senior assisted-living facilities building, development and operation. Interestingly, the company lists an out of state address for filings of any legal actions. Although it names National Registered Agents, a national firm, the address is in Reston, Va.--11921 Freedom Dr., Suite 950, that office is surprisingly close to the home of Sunrise Senior Living, a senior assisted living company with a troubled past with which Shields was associated.
Currently, in addition to the proposed Kensington Project in Sierra Madre, a story in Redondo Beach Patch reported that the Redondo Beach Board of Education on Oct. 3 approved a project on property owned by the district for Fountain Square Development West to build an assisted-living facility. The winning bid was a commitment of $614,250 annually on a 60-year lease. The size of the Redondo Beach facility will be about a third larger than the proposed Sierra Madre deal.
Founding member and partner in Fountain Square, William D. Shields, holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech but is probably best known for his time as a professional football player with San Diego from 1975-1983 and San Francisco in 1984 where he was a member of the Super Bowl Championship team.
Shields has worked in the senior living field for 23 years, about 17 of which was at Sunrise Senior Living, serving as Executive Vice-President of the company from 2002-2009.
Shields left Sunrise during a tumultuous period during which the company was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting irregularities. Though the company was not charged, there remained questions among investors, and the fortunes of the company sank. Sunrise Living was finally sold this week to a health-care real estate investment trust.
During Shields term with Sunrise, not all projects where successful. The Sterling project set for development on the site of Ambassador College in Old Pasadena never got off the ground. A project in White Plains, NJ, required public financing and seeks Housing Urban Development 232 funding.
Whether funding is totally available for the Sierra Madre project and whether public financing will be sought is not clear.
Still, Shields and his group, are dedicated to the original Sunrise Living concept based on a Dutch model. That model calls for warm hospitable environments. The company claims that during his time with Sunrise, Shields assembled and directed completion of 90 communities with total project costs of $2.250 billion.
Shields says they will own and operate the Sierra Madre facility.
The question voters may want to consider is not only if the Kensington Assisted Living facility should be approved to override the provisions of the voter-passed Measure V to curtail dense population at the site, but also whether these are the people to do it.