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Givens Estates’ Expansion Nears Halfway Point; Dining Experience A Key

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Givens Estates retirement community embarked on a $33 million expansion and redevelopment project scheduled to open in 2021 that will enrich the lives of current and future residents. The new neighborhood, Friendship Park, is set in the heart of campus and will offer two buildings with 80 upscale and spacious apartment homes. In addition to the Friendship Park expansion, Givens Estates is investing in an $9.5 million project involving the Oxford Commons building on the campus. The project involves renovations and expansion to include three new dining venues, a wellness gym addition, and a new exterior terrace.

“The renovation will allow us to provide the atmosphere and amenities our residents expect while also bringing new ideas and creativity to the table,” said John Cowan, executive director of Givens Estates. “We want to compete at the highest level when it comes to the restaurant and dining experience, hospitality, and providing older adults with a vibrant and versatile culture.”

Each new dining option has its own personality, catering to an array of preferences and needs. An inviting gathering space designed to be a social hub for the community, The Social Brew is a resident-centered place for meeting friends and enjoying small plates from a diverse menu morning and evening. With a homelike environment and open seating for about 110 people, Market + Craft will offer a variety of stations featuring made-to-order items with fresh ingredients such as specialty salads, custom sandwiches, and carved meats. Residents can also order carryout items or select from a bakery with assorted fresh breads and pastries.Terrene will offer a more upscale, table-waited service for residents and their guests who prefer a more intimate dining experience. The centerpiece of the restaurant revolves around the French cooking suite, letting guests experience the chef’s creations during food preparation.

“Our vision is to build innovative, high-quality dining venues that offer residents more choices and exceptional culinary experiences,” said Kenneth Jenzen, dining services director. “Our overall goals for the expansion and modernization are resident-centered.”

Oxford Commons’ wellness center expansion will add 1,200 square feet for a new exercise studio, enlarged yoga, and aerobics studio, and dedicated therapy suite. The new area will offer more challenging activities such as spin classes and rowing and will be expanded to accommodate more people and a growing population of older adults.

Recent Census Bureau reports show more than 20% of Buncombe County residents are 65 years or older. With aging baby boomers, these numbers are expected to grow substantially over the next 10 years. This project is vital to positioning Givens Estates to serve the needs of its residents for the next 20 years.

Before Givens Estates started on this project, the leadership team underwent a thorough planning process. The team solicited feedback from consumer focus groups with current residents, future residents, and staff to determine which aspects of dining and wellness needed updating based on their expectations. Finally, they held in-depth discussions with industry consultants in dining, architecture, and construction to design the renovations thoughtfully.

Givens Estates has partnered with North Carolina-based Frank L. Blum Construction Company in the building of the community. Construction of Oxford Commons is anticipated to be completed by spring 2021, and Friendship Park is slated for fall 2021.