First Community Village recently broke ground for an expansion project that's expected to bring 70 new independent-living apartments to the Upper Arlington senior-housing complex.

On Aug. 20, officials from National Church Residences held a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the largest expansion of First Community Village, 1800-02 Riverside Drive, in its 56-year history.

The project is estimated at $37 million and will yield the construction of the Fairfax, a 70-unit apartment complex for independent living.

"We are reinvesting in First Community Village so that it will continue to offer seniors a premier living experience and to grow this campus to best serve the needs of seniors in the area," said Todd Hutchins, director of public relations for NCR, which owns FCV.

The 4-story, 143,622-square-foot project is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

It will include providing a new access to FCV via a Waltham Road driveway that Hutchins said is designed to eliminate cut-through traffic to nearby Fifth Avenue.

The project also will replace 30 garden villas that an Upper Arlington Planning Division staff report in May 2018 called "aging" and "outdated."

That staff report said the new project would yield "a high-quality independent-living facility" that would serve the needs of current and future seniors and "ensure the long-term sustainability of the First Community Village."

In addition to the 70 apartment units, the Fairfax will include wellness gym, juice bar, spa and other amenities "designed to help residents remain healthy and live independently," Hutchins said.

"While the apartments are designed for dual occupancy, we anticipate having 130 new residents at the Fairfax," he said. "To date, we have 61 of the 70 apartments pre-leased with some apartments being conjoined and others reserved for single occupancy."

FCV opened in 1963. It has 302 residents, Hutchins said.

"All current residents have the ability to move into the Fairfax, but at this point all depositors are new seniors moving onto the campus," he said.

Upper Arlington officials have supported the project throughout a planning process that began in spring 2018.

"First Community Village has been a senior-housing campus at this locale for several decades," said Chad Gibson, Upper Arlington senior planning officer. "It provides essential housing choices for seniors in a beautiful, parklike setting."

Gibson said the project "furthers an abundance of goals and objectives noted in the city's updated master plan and replaces aging, outdated garden-style units," and it "includes both high-quality development and a significant reinvestment -- around $37 million -- enhancing an already-thriving senior housing campus."

Hutchins said when the project is completed, it will offer "an enriched living experience" for residents that will include enabling them to get smoothies with friends at the Fairfax juice bar and working out at a "smart" gym that will know residents' workout routines and programs equipment through an app on their phones.

Additionally, he said, it will yield a remodeled dining room in FCV's the Chelsea.

"All of this work is designed to advance the lives of the seniors living at First Community Village, enabling them to remain home for life," Hutchins said.