Project Description

San Francisco Zen Center and Kendal have recently partnered to create a new type of community, designed for individuals 55 and over who wish to live and age together in an uplifting and enriching setting, with support for wellness, active engagement with the world, safety and continued learning. The community, which will nurture the practices of meditation and mindfulness, will be part of the Kendal System, designed for a diverse population with wide-ranging needs and interests, and operated with a spirit of inclusion. A variety of wellness and fitness programs will be provided, and community members will organize virtually all aspects of social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual life.

We are exploring sites within the Bay Area and within a development designed to meet the highest level of environmental responsibility. A team of professionals—including Greenbrier, a senior housing development company, architects, land-use experts, staff and board members from San Francisco Zen Center and Kendal, as well as financing partners—is fully engaged in developing a communnity and program that will be attractive to a diverse community.

Residents will be invited to practice meditation in the centrally located meditation hall with Senior Zen practitioners, who will be in residence. Residents will have access to classes, workshops and retreats and will have the opportunity to garden and cook together. While the community will not be strictly vegetarian, an important aspect of community life will be a dining venue inspired by the Greens restaurant in San Francisco, which was started over 40 years ago by San Francisco Zen Center.

The community will be designed to encourage aging in place. Assisted Living and Memory Support programs will be available for residents, if needed.

Initial surveys and research indicate a strong interest in this community. More detailed research will be conducted in the coming months to learn how best to meet the desires of the intended population, including the preferred sizes and mixes of residences, desired amenities and financial options.
Many things will change as market research and the development process unfolds. Please sign up to receive regular updates, or to participate in focus groups, to help us determine what programs and services are most important to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this community be for San Francisco Zen Center practitioners, residents, and teachers only?

Supporting a spirit of inclusion is a core value of this community. Therefore, everyone is welcome without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Kendal communities also operate in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Will long-term care be provided?

Yes. Currently assisted living and memory care programs are planned to meet the future long-term needs of residents. It is anticipated that skilled nursing services will be coordinated for residents with local, high-quality, and skilled nursing providers. Every effort will be made to offer services in the home.

How many people will live in this community, and how many apartment homes will there be?

Currently it is estimated that the preferred site can support between 200-250 apartments, 24 assisted living, and 30 memory support residences; however, the program and architectural drawings are preliminary at this point.

Will the community also provide for those with limited mobility or dementia?

Homes and public spaces will be designed with principles of universal design. Our partner, Kendal, will provide memory care.

Will residents be able to have pets?

Yes, it will be a pet friendly community.

What amenities will be provided?

The specific amenities will be determined when the programming of the community is finalized. Information about amenities will be included in our ongoing communications about the project.

What opportunities will there be to integrate Zen practice into everyday life?

Daily sittings, classes, practice groups, lectures, and workshops will be available, although there will be no obligation to practice. There will be a meditation hall and retired Zen teachers will live in the community. In addition, it is anticipated that willing participants besides staff members (residents, for instance) will be trained in the practice of contemplative care.

What is the vision for the accommodation (e.g. mix of rooms, apartment, houses, etc.)?

We have brought on market researchers to help us craft a mix that best meets the need of the greater community.

What is different about this retirement living community from others in Northern California?

Zen Inspired Senior Living will offer the chance to age together within a community of neighbors sharing values and a commitment to the environment, community, and practice. Plus, our food will be much better, the design of the common and private spaces will be simple and elegant, and care, as needed, will be provided by caregivers trained in compassionate care.

What will be the price range of accommodations being offered?

There is not yet enough information about the size of the residences, and what is included in the program yet to provide a price range at this time. This information will be communicated as soon as more details emerge from programming and planning.

It is anticipated that this will be an entrance fee Life Plan Community. The entrance fee is likely to be largely repayable in the future. Also, residents will pay a monthly fee for their home and services in this not-for-profit community.

Why is SFZC involved in this project?

We are responding to a demand we often hear from people wanting to live in such a community. In addition, SFZC has an obligation to retired monks for lifelong housing.

What is the energy and sustainability policy for the project?

We are exploring certification as a One Planet Community, which includes a commitment to extremely high environmental standards. To learn more about One Planet living, please see

Who will manage the project?

Kendal will manage the project. Kendal has over 50 years of experience with senior communities and is currently managing 14 wonderful communities.

Will anyone be able to use the communal facilities?
The zendo and other offerings will be available to the public.
Who are the current investors and proposed partners?

A generous donation of over $3 million is serving as seed money. There may be opportunities for friends of SFZC to invest equity in the project as well.

Where is the site?

The community will be in Northern California.

What is the best way to get on the list for more information?

Please fill out form on the right of this page.

About San Francisco Zen Center
San Francisco Zen Center was established in 1962 by Japanese Zen priest, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and his American students. Suzuki Roshi is known to countless readers as the author of the modern spiritual classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Today, San Francisco Zen Center is one of the largest Buddhist sanghas outside Asia. It has three practice places: City Center, in the vibrant heart of San Francisco; Green Gulch Farm, whose organic fields meet the ocean in Marin County; and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center – the first Zen training monastery in the West in the Ventana Wilderness inland from Big Sur. These three complementary practice centers offer daily meditation, regular monastic retreats and practice periods, classes, lectures, and workshops.

In the spirit of Beginner’s Mind, Zen Center has long been a quiet force of cultural dynamism and change, with a dedicated history of reconsidering conventional wisdom and pushing the boundaries of cultural traditions and modes of thinking.

About Kendal
Kendal is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where ground was broken for the first Kendal community in 1971. Kendal provides advice, leadership and support to the communities and services in eight states that make up the Kendal System, primarily by helping to develop and disseminate model practices, facilitate economies of scale and advance responsible growth. As a system of not-for-profit communities, programs and services founded on the principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Kendal aspires to transform the experience of aging, guided by Kendal’s Values and Practices.