The midday heat didn’t reduce the crowd or the enthusiasm at the
groundbreaking for the Burbank Senior Artists Colony.
City officials, developers and members of the community gathered
Wednesday for the ceremonial start of construction on the project, a
141-unit housing complex featuring a theater, studio space and other
arts-related amenities for seniors.
David Connell, an actor who hopes to live at the facility when it
is completed, said the Artists Colony will be a great community
“It would be a wonderful feeling to roll out of bed, take a few
steps and reach a theater space,” he said.
Connell was one of the seniors who demonstrated his talents at the
ceremony. Playing a Charlie Chaplin-type character, Connell and
others filmed a silent movie called “The Groundbreaking.” Al Jacobs,
a former member of the Coasters, provided music.
The nonprofit group More Than Housing for Seniors will provide
various activities and services for residents. John Huskey, president
of developer Meta Housing Corporation, said those activities will be
an important part of the Artists Colony.
“It’s what you do in addition to housing that makes the difference
between people having just a place to stay and a place to live and
thrive,” Huskey said.
In addition to its arts programming, 41 of the units at the
development will be dedicated to moderate and low-income seniors.
Workers have begun leveling the ground at the corner of San Fernando
Boulevard and Verdugo Avenue, where the Artists Colony will be
located, and a Meta Housing official said they hope the facility will
be ready to open by spring 2004.
The project received a $3.25-million subsidy from the city’s
Redevelopment Agency in 2000. At Thursday’s groundbreaking, City
Manager Mary Alvord said by replacing old, blighted buildings, the
Artists Colony typifies what redevelopment can do.
“The Senior Artists Colony is the gateway to downtown Burbank,”