Post Bulletin | Jeff Kiger, jkiger@postbulletin.com | Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013

Workers began moving dirt on the banks of the Zumbro River Thursday as construction of a new $15 million assisted living complex kicked off.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for River Bend Assisted Living was held in northwest Rochester on the former site of the Silver Lake Motorcoach RV park, just south of the River Center Plaza shopping center.

City council members and business leaders gathered at the work site for the event, which is a sign of Rochester’s rapidly growing senior care market as well as the city’s strong economic development.

River Bend will feature 70 assisted living units and 18 memory-care units on 81,000 square feet overlooking the river. The goal is to complete the facility by fall of 2014.  When it opens, River Bend will employ nearly 50 full- and part-time staff members.

The project is a joint venture between Rochester’s Titan Development and Investments and Good Neighbor Care Centers of Eugene, Ore.

Titan is lead by CEO Andy Chafoulias and chairman Gus Chafoulias.Good Neighbor Care, which is owned by Yakima, Wash.,-based Wilkinson Corp, will manage the community. It works with 20 properties in nine states and has five more in development, although this is its first foray into Minnesota.

“Our goal at River Bend assisted living will be to not only provide the highest quality care, but also to provide our residents with meaningful and memorable experiences,” said Gary White of Good Neighbor Care. “We really think senior living is a place where people go not for the end of their lives, but to start a new chapter in their lives.”

The 70 assisted living units will be designed for residents who just need some help with activities of daily living. Choices will include studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The 18 memory care units are specially designed for residents dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Memory Care accommodations include private and semi-private rooms, a secured courtyard, private family room, lounge and activity areas, and community dining.

White added that Good Neighbor is particularly excited about developing a community in Rochester due to the opportunity to work with Mayo Clinic’s Gerontology Department.

This project has been in the works for about two years. It is the first of what is expected to be a number of Titan/Good Neighbor facilities to be built in the Midwest in coming years.

River Bend Assisted Living is being designed by Rochester-based CRW Architects, built by Weis Builders and financed by West Bank.