Golden shovels in hand, Presbyterian Homes celebrated the official groundbreaking of the long-awaited Folkestone senior living community this week. The development is part of The Promenade of , a mixed-use project that includes 32,000 square feet of retail, located on the 14.5-acre site of the former Wayzata Bay Center.
The celebration included local government and business leaders alongside the project development team, Presbyterian Homes staff and future residents.
“This project is a very big deal because it is part of an effort to revitalize downtown Wayzata,” Wayzata Mayor Ken Wilcox said during an address to about 200 guests.
Wilcox extended his appreciation to the Presbyterian Homes board and staff leaders for their vision of what could become of the property, as well as their patience and tenacity as the housing and commercial building market recovered. The project has been in pre-development planning for over five years. He also thanked state and city leaders, city staff, the business community and the high involvement of Wayzata citizens in the planning process.
“We’re ready to launch this enterprise and we’re excited to get going,” Wilcox said.
Peggy Douglas, president of the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the audience about the deep commitment of Wayzata businesses and residents, evident by the strong attendance and positive engagement in the city planning and approval process for the project.
“Everybody had ideas about what should happen on the Bay Center property," Douglas said, “and Presbyterian Homes listened.”
The first construction phase of Folkestone will provide 225 senior living apartments in over 40 different floor plans, ranging from 740 to 2,315 square feet. Living options include 148 independent living senior apartments, 58 assisted living apartments, 18 memory care suites and 30 skilled nursing care suites.
The Folkestone Town Center, included in Phase 1, will offer dining choices, a theater, conservatory, library, chapel and wellness center featuring a swimming pool, spa and many other amenities and services. Completion of this phase of the project is planned for fall 2013.
Future phases include assisted living apartments, memory care apartments and skilled care center suites. When all phases are complete, the newly re-developed area will be an inviting destination with pedestrian walkways, shopping and dining, plazas and open space, public art, and fountains, all within walking distance of Lake Minnetonka.
“There’s a new energy in Wayzata and people are really exited about this project,” Douglas said. “We want to attract visitors of all ages and make Wayzata a great place for our residents to live, shop and enjoy.”
When asked about reaching this milestone to begin the first phase of the project, John Mehrkens, vice president of project development, said excitement only began to describe the feeling among city leaders, Presbyterian Homes and the community at large.
"The response from the Wayzata area to the senior housing element of the project has been tremendous,” Mehrkens said.
He went on to add that he is pleased with the pace of reservations for the apartments. Leasing efforts are also proceeding well for the retail elements of the project, with demand picking up as the economy continues to improve.
Presbyterian Homes, based in St. Paul, is a non-profit, faith-based organization providing a broad array of housing choices, care and service options for older adults. Approximately 5,400 employees serve over 21,000 older adults through 37 Presbyterian Homes-affiliated senior living communities in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Find more information on The Promenade online or contact John Mehrkens at (651) 631-6313. For more information on Folkestone senior living community, go to www.folkestonephs.org or contact Dena Kuenzel, the project Housing Advisor at (952) 944-5737.