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      New senior center completes historic Building 50

      Dozens of people gathered Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new senior living community at Grand Traverse Commons that also marks an important milestone for the entire building.

      The construction of Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons, A Senior Residential Club, marks the completion of restoring all of Building 50, a project that has been ongoing for more than a decade.

      "This is a very big milestone for our project," said Raymond Minervini, one of the Building 50 developers. " We've been working on this since 2000. Here we are, we're 13 years later and the project that Cordia is kicking off right here will see the final parts of Building 50 completed and restored and put into new use."

      The senior living community will be an exclusive year-round luxury home designed for both independent seniors and those who require assistance. Officials say the construction will maintain the beauty of the original structure, but will be modernized to meet zoning requirements.

      The $30.7 million project will provide homes for more than 100 senior citizens with it's 109 private residences. Unit pricing starts at $3,450 per month. Cordia will offer private amenities like a health and wellness spa, theatre, pub, art studios, educational and social programs, a new courtyard, and much more.

      The residents will also have access to everything that the entire Village at Grand Traverse Commons has to offer.

      "All the research and what our resident feedback tells us is that seniors very much want to be in the middle of very vibrant, multi-age, and multi-use communities and there's no venue that offers that better than The Village at Grand Traverse Commons," said Cordia Senior Living CEO, Karen Anderson.

      "That's how we save the buildings," said Minervini. "We have to have new uses for them and the Cordia Senior Living is going to be a very compatible use for the neighborhood."

      Project officials expect to support more than 100 full and part-time jobs during the construction period, including many local subcontractors. Once fully operational, Cordia will employ 50-60 full and part-time employees.

      The building is expected to be open by October 2014.