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Daily Pilot

A lot of hard work and dedication pays off

Glennwood House, a facility for young developmentally disabled adults, has its grand opening in Laguna Beach.

By Bradley Zint

8:42 PM PDT, July 13, 2013

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LAGUNA BEACH — Dressed in multicolored swim trunks, flip-flops and a tuxedo complete with yellow vest and bow tie, Randy Larson mingled with friends and guests at the facility he helped create.

The Newport Beach native was proud to see the Glennwood House of Laguna Beach be just about complete — "about 96%" done, as he put it. As for his formal-yet-casual dress?

"Let's just kind of go semi-formal for Laguna," Larson said. "I said alright!"

The 30,000-square-foot facility that will be home for 50 developmentally disabled adults, whose average age is 25, had its grand opening Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the picture-perfect Laguna summer day with live music, food, and tours of the rooms where the residents will begin moving in early next month.

The house was named after Larson's grandfather, Glenn White, and a Newport Beach childhood friend, Gary Harwood, who died of cancer in his mid-30s.

Larson said he and Gary both had connections to the special-needs community.

"We had talked someday of doing something," Larson said. "We weren't sure what ... when it got to this thing, I called his mom and said, 'This is gonna be it, for my grandpa and for Gary.' "

Before being renovated into Glennwood, the property at 2130 S. Coast Hwy. had been a vacant assisted-living facility for seniors. About $1.4 million later, the ocean-view lot has 42 rooms, an art studio, gym, game room, dining room, kitchen and organic "productive garden" where the residents can grow their own food.

"It's been a lot of hard work" to get everything complete, Larson said.

The house had its groundbreaking ceremony in August 2012.

Larson, a Laguna Niguel resident, has a son with Down syndrome, Trevor. As a father, he has been very active in creating sports teams and other activities for special-needs children. He also started the nonprofit Lighthouse Group in 2003.

Much of Glennwood's materials have been donated, including the furniture, bed frames, carpet, mattresses and plants, said executive director Shauna Bogert. The Balboa Bay Resort — formerly known as the Balboa Bay Club & Resort — in Newport Beach donated the dining room furniture, Bogert added.

An open house is planned for from noon to 4 p.m. July 27.