Mount Vernon, NY – March 7, 2022 – Receiving entitlement approval and construction financing, Wartburg and its design team has kicked-off construction of a new 50,500 square-foot Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Living Center with a groundbreaking Tuesday morning at One Wartburg Place.
Already home to independent living, assisted living, and award-winning nursing home care, Wartburg’s new Berkemeier Living Center will feature 64 state-of-the-art residences, 32 private and 32 companion suites, and will focus on providing resources to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Wartburg’s Board, executives, administrators, staff, were joined by the design team, business and civic leaders for a blessing and earth-turning ceremony at the site, which was recently cleared of the former Berkemeier Auditorium.
Dr. David Gentner, Wartburg’s President & CEO said, “There are many people we need to recognize this morning so at the risk of leaving people out I’m only going to mention our owner’s rep, Lehrer-Cumming, the architect, KDA architects, and our General Contractor, Consigli Construction.” “I also want to say how grateful I am to both the Lutheran Church Extension Fund and the Mission Investment Fund for financing the project,” said Gentner.
The Berkemeier Living Center residences will resemble small-scale households, providing an intimate and comfortable feel for the residents, staff, and families. Key planning elements such as short walking distances, oversized windows for increased natural light, and enhanced views are included in the design to help support a healing environment. Additionally, each household features its own living, dinning and kitchen space, as well as gathering spaces. The first-floor lobby and gallery space will display elements of Wartburg’s rich history including Berkemeier artifacts from the original structure. The first level will also include an event space, music therapy room, and administrative space. This large program will be supported with a healing garden at the rear yard with seating and community space. The Living Center will also benefit from the nearby nursing, and rehabilitation centers on campus to accommodate resident needs. The building will also be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Attaining LEED certification signifies that a building is exemplary in conserving energy, lowering operating costs and being healthy for occupants.
The Berkemeier Living Center is named to honor Wartburg’s second President, Reverend Dr. Gottlieb C. Berkemeier, who served for thirty-six years. During his tenure, Dr. Berkemeier raised the profile of The Wartburg Orphans’ Farm School, helping it to become one of the foremost institutions of its kind in this country.
Robert Ranieri, Wartburg’s Board Chairman and Chair of Wartburg’s Real Estate Committee said, “The Berkemeier Living Center is the first building of Wartburg’s Vision 2025 Master Plan. This morning is a celebration of the future and I believe this Living Center will be the new standard for memory care services, here in lower Westchester, here in Mount Vernon.”
Dr. Nicholas Cicchetti, Chairman of Wartburg’s Foundation Board said, “On behalf of the Foundation, it is a pleasure to be in a position to support this Berkemeier project. 400,000 New Yorkers currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2025, that number will increase by 15% to 460,000. I would like to thank David, the Executive staff and most importantly the frontline caregivers who worked selflessly and without reservation throughout the pandemic.”
The City of Mount Vernon’s Mayor, Shawyn Patterson-Howard attended the event and said “Memory loss is a major issue and is something that often times we don’t speak about…I want to thank Wartburg for taking this head-on because not every family has the depth or capacity or caregivers to provide that comprehensive care. This is an opportunity to provide a safe, warm, loving, and supportive environment for people who have served many generations of their family to be able to live with dignity and have a place where their families can come and visit and support them.”
Wartburg, located in Westchester County, NY, offers integrated, comprehensive senior residential and healthcare services. Unlike conventional retirement communities, Wartburg provides a wide range of services to both residents living on their beautiful 34-acre campus and people in their own homes. From independent, assisted living and award-winning nursing home care to inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, home care and adult day care services, their continuing care approach has earned them a trusted reputation. Wartburg also provides caregiver support at every stage with an array of options to find the level of care that considers the whole family. Wartburg was named one of the “Best Nursing Homes in New York State” by U.S. News & World Report for the tenth consecutive year in 2021.
Berkemeier Living Center Rendering, KDA Architects
Dr. David J. Gentner, CEO & President, Wartburg
Board, Executive Staff, Design Team