Edgewood Healthcare will break ground on a 40-acre senior housing and health campus on the south end of Grand Forks.

The entire project will take about eight years to complete and cost between $30 million and $40 million, said Edgewood President and CEO Phil Gisi. Work on the urgent care clinic will start this spring and work on the assisted-living facility will begin this fall.

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Gisi said the first Planning and Zoning meeting with the city will be on April 3. There, the group will identify which neighborhoods to talk with about the project, which will be called Edgewood Village.

Demographics

Gisi and his team have been studying the demographics of the Grand Forks region since the late 1990s.

"After the (1997) flood, a lot of people that were close to retirement or were retired and had lost their homes just left," Gisi said. "They moved to where their kids lived or wherever. That left a gap in our demographics."

The need for senior housing was low because of this, Gisi said. Now, 20 years later, the area is seeing significant growth in the senior population. Over the next three or four years, the United States will see a 25 percent increase in people 65 or older, Gisi said.

"The need for senior housing is going to start exploding between now and the next decade," Gisi said. "This presents the community a challenge. How do we create new housing opportunities for seniors? How do we provide care for that population?"

The housing portion of this equation is really important, Gisi said.

Affordability is going to be an issue for many because "assisted living is expensive, specialty nursing is expensive and going to the hospital is expensive," Gisi said. "We need to find ways to provide better access for elders going forward. We want to reduce admissions to hospitals and keep people in their homes longer."

Gisi said a facility like this is one solution for the issue. Living within immediate walking distance of care makes it more efficient, affordable and accessible, Gisi said.

Amenities

The senior housing will include independent and assisted-living apartments. A clinic could also be included with walk-in hours. There is room for other services-such as dentistry-to be added, Gisi said.

Plans also include twin homes and patio homes for rent or sale. There will be more than 200 units on the site over the next several years, 150 of them assisted-living units.

Gisi said about $24 million will be invested in the assisted-living facility.

Altru will operate on-site medical services, including a clinic, pharmacy and therapy services.

Amenities will include a clubhouse, bistro, coffee shop, fitness center, on-campus ponds and walking paths. A patio will go directly to the pond, so residents will be able to fish.

All amenities and medical services will be available to the general public as well.

The first phase of construction will be the urgent care clinic, to start in the spring. The clinic will include primary care physicians and might include other services, such as dermatology, according to Gisi. This portion of the project will cost approximately $3 million.

Edgewood has built similar facilities in Minot and Fargo.

"In Minot, I added a bistro and theater to the facility. And the general community goes there quite often," Gisi said. "It is a gathering spot for people of all ages. I think we'll see the same response from the neighborhood here."