Undaunted by rain and blustery winds, an estimated 800–900 people crowded into The Summit at First Hill on Sunday, April 29, to participate in an open house celebrating the formal opening of the Kline Galland Center’s new retirement apartments.
Guests were impressed by the lobby and the dazzling array of fresh flowers and plants festooned there for the event. It hardly seemed possible that a mere 18 months had passed since construction began. Guests enjoyed looking at one of the four glass works created and donated to The Summit by Dale Chihuly, placed at one end of the lobby.
Board members of The Summit and Kline Galland Home greeted guests and directed them to the activities room, where the dedication program was to take place. Overflow guests were seated in adjoining rooms where loudspeakers had been installed.
A distinguished group of dignitaries were in attendance, including Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, and several city and county council members.
The program began with a welcome from board members Jeanie Alhadeff and Irving Karl. Rabbi James Mirel of Temple B’nai Torah delivered the invocation.
Following a presentation to honorees Michael Cohen, Arva Gray, Raymond Galante, David Benoliel and Thomas Leavitt for their efforts in achieving the dream of building The Summit, Rabbi Solomon Maimon participated in the formal affixing of the mezuzah to the building.
The individual who is due the greatest credit for seeing this endeavor executed from start to finish, namely Joshua H. Gortler, CEO of the Kline Galland Center, was accorded a standing ovation for his tireless efforts in overseeing the construction. Many of those in attendance were also on hand at the ground-breaking in the fall of 1999.
Dov Sugarman, chief operating officer of The Summit, introduced other members of The Summit staff. Following the formal program, guests were given guided tours of the building by Summit board members, and some of the residents graciously opened their apartments to the groups. Guests exclaimed at the magnificent views afforded from the upper floors of the building, as well as the public entertainment room at the very top.
The afternoon concluded with a reception in The Summit Café featuring culinary creations prepared by the staff.
Gortler later reflected that the concept of an independent living facility for Jewish seniors had long been on the drawing board, but it took a long time to find an acceptable site. When it became known that the present site was feasible, the committee
immediately began negotiations to acquire the three properties involved. Fundraising for the project had been in place for a number of years and 150 major donors had previously contributed $25,000 or more each. A $27 million bond was created to cover construction of The Summit.