Developers Hope to Bring LGBT Friendly Retirement Community to Palm Springs

News Staff

Palm Springs, CA

For 21 years, Paul Johnson has been stitching together the fabrics of the gay community in Palm Springs at his shop, Off Ramp Leather.

"Six days a week, my clients are very much in the upper age bracket," said Johnson.

He’s aware of what their day to day needs are and how they’ve evolved over the years. Many have decided to retire from wearing their leather.

"They bring stuff in to have us consign off, to sell for them because they’re not out in public as much because their lives are slowing down," he said.

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Johnson is excited about the development potentially making roots in his community because he himself is interested.

"We’re all going to need some place to go. The fact that we’ll have the comradery of being with like-minded humans. It’ll be a plus, I think." said Johnson.

Developers Loren Ostrow and Paul Alanis think so as well. They’ve already bought the 9-acre plot of land at the corner of Hermosa and Tahquitz Canyon.

Their vision is for a 96-unit condominium property which would be a mixture of one and two bedroom spaces, ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet. It would be a place where those 55 years and older could get support and be supported.

"You’re going to have other people looking out for you, your neighbors are going to be looking out for you," said Jason Venema, who works along side Johnson at Off Ramp Leather.

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He’s all for the project. What sold him was the connection he’ll have with those around him.

"They know what you’ve gone through, medical wise. We have certain medical issues that are similar in the gay community that we have to look out for each other," said Venema.

For both men, it makes growing older a little more exciting and rewarding.

Ostrow says he’s hopeful to break ground in 2019 after city approval this year and for the community to be complete by the middle of 2020.

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