ST. JOSEPH - Tractors and other equipment have started clearing ground for a new senior housing development in St. Joseph.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday morning for Country Manor. CEO Brian Kelm says the campus will give area residents a chance to retire right in St. Joseph.

Artist drawing of the Country Manor campus (Photo: City of St. Joseph)

"It's 153,000 square feet for our campus, we have 60 units for senior housing and 24 units for memory care, with a small main street. It's where the quality of life will really take place."

Kelm says they will have the campus finished sometime next fall. The senior living development will come with some commercial features.

"We'll have a social gathering area, a chapel, salon-spa, a store with a coffee shop and other gathering areas for people to be able to enjoy life."

The estimated cost for the project is between $14-$16 million. Earlier this summer, the St. Cloud Area School District approved a tax abatement plan for County Manor. There's also the possibility the facility could expand in the future with more independent and memory care units.

City administrator Judy Weyrens has previously said St. Joseph residents have long requested senior and life cycle housing in town. The site could also attract residents from other nearby areas like Avon, Albany and Collegeville.

Country Manor also operates a senior facility in Sartell.

St. Joseph gave the green light for another senior facility, Fortitude Senior Housing, in July.