Planning Commission Greenlights Senior Living Facility

Real estate developer Jason Lewis remembers how hard it was to find suitable senior housing for his grandmother in Beverly Hills. That experience is the inspiration behind Margaux Beverly Hills, a 55-unit assisted living facility at 244-256 N. Clark Drive that on April 11 was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission with conditions.  

“Clearly, the need for more senior housing is great and growing,” Lewis said. “Based on these facts and the experience of our family and many others our mission is simple. We want to promote healthy aging, social engagement and overall wellness for Beverly Hills seniors in an idyllic setting.”  

With units ranging in size from 634-square-foot studios to 1,075-square-foot two bedrooms, the facility also features high-end amenities including a wellness suite with physical therapy and massage rooms, and a rooftop lounge with landscaped terraces, a theater room and wine storage. Residents will also have access to meal service, housekeeping and transportation within a 3-mile radius, and staff will conduct 24/7 care and wellness monitoring.  

Operated by Solera Senior Living – which operates similar residences from Nevada to Maryland – the facility promises “best-in-class … resident engagement, clinical excellence, visitor management and infection prevention, employee safety and medication management,” Lewis said.    

While many commenters approved of the project, noting the shortage of available senior housing in Beverly Hills and the positive reputation of the Lewis family, some neighbors worried that the project would harm their quality of life. 

Pamela Fogel, a landlord whose family has owned property at 238 N. Clark Drive for decades, claimed she has already lost tenants “because of all the signage” that went up and worried that delivery drivers and construction vehicles will stall traffic and infringe on parking spaces typically used by tenants.  

One of Fogel’s neighbors, Cedars-Sinai cardiologist Dr. David Kattan, said that while he appreciates the need for more senior housing, he also worried the plans provide insufficient parking and wanted more information about where transportation services would pick up and drop off residents. 

Parking and traffic issues were a central theme of the commissioner’s questions, and after extensive questions and deliberations, several of the commissioners said they would need more information at a later hearing before giving their approval.

Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said he wanted more information about parking impacts, how many cars are typically associated with such facilities, and how staff will ensure that deliveries do not block traffic.

Commissioner Myra Demeter also was not initially swayed. Although “there is a place in Beverly Hills for this project,” she felt that without offering “full care” it serves only a small segment of the elderly population. She said the project would be more appealing if it had a few floors dedicated to memory care and if “there was a cut out to allow for short-term deliveries.” 

After a brief recess, Spencer B. Kallick said the developers would add space on the property for delivery vehicles to park in without causing traffic and would add a condition that the city retains the authority to require Solera to provide off-site parking. 

Wolfe also said he wanted to include a condition that the developers submit a detailed “operational plan” reflecting the discussions, and the commission then voted unanimously to approve the project with the new conditions.   

The project had several entitlements, including a development plan review and a conditional use permit.

“We are in this for the long haul,” Kallick said. “This is not just about [Lewis’s] family, but his family knowing what Beverly Hills is about, and what is important to this community.”  

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