MOORHEAD - Eventide Senior Living Communities will break ground Wednesday, May 29, on a two-year, $18 million expansion and renovation project that includes construction of a four-story building with underground parking at Eighth Street and 16th Avenue South.

The project at 720 16th Ave. S. will add 73 apartment units to the Eventide on Eighth campus, bringing the total number of assisted living units there to 190. Some of the new units will be larger three-bedroom and two-bath apartments, Eventide President and CEO Jon Riewer said Friday, May 24.

The new building will have a dining room and commercial kitchen for restaurant-style dining, a theater and pub room, Riewer said.

Other additions include a new entrance with a drive-under canopy for the existing Linden Tree buildings, and a courtyard between the two south wings that include such amenities as a fire pit, raised garden beds and outdoor cooking area with a grill.

There will also be windows replaced, new roofing and exterior work on the Linden Tree buildings, Riewer said.

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“It’s a pretty extensive remodel and addition and it allows us some things we don’t currently have there,” Riewer said.

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The second floor of one of the existing buildings will also be turned into an 18-apartment assisted-living memory-care unit, Riewer said.

“That will be a first for that campus,” Riewer said. “We continue to hear what a plus it is” for couples with needs that vary to be able to live at the same site, he said.

The Clay County Commission has already approved issuing $8 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund the construction and renovation. Riewer said Eventide is working with other area governments to get the remaining $10 million in tax-exempt bonding issued. Eventide will be responsible for paying the bonded debt.

Eventide was also seeking a four-year property tax exemption. The Moorhead City Commission was to hear the request for the $116,800 property tax break at its Tuesday, May 28, hearing.

The first phase tower is planned to be completed and open by next summer, Riewer said. At that point, remodeling will begin on existing spaces, which may require moving some residents to new quarters.

Eventide staff has already begun to work with residents and families on the expected moves, Riewer said.

“It’s a two-year project from start to finish,” Riewer said. “It’s really kind of setting the stage for serving seniors for the next 25 years.”

Riewer said many of the people Eventide serves are in their early 80s or older. As baby boomers continue to age, demand for assisted living will soar.

“The demographics really suggest that we’re in a bit of a lull right now. Really, in another three to five years, (anticipated demand) “ramps up at a pace that, frankly, it will be hard to keep up,” Riewer said.

Riewer said seniors also want to live in updated facilities with modern amenities.

“There might be a lot of living options in town, but more of the consumers are becoming more particular about what they want in their lifestyle,” he said.