A senior living facility planned for Union has been approved for additional beds.

The Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee recently gave the approval for Benchmark Healthcare to construct a 20-bed assisted living facility.

The facility will be in the Union city limits on the east end of town, and it will be built adjacent to a 60-bed skilled nursing facility that had already been approved.

Benchmark Healthcare had to show a need for the assisted living facility to get approval from the committee, said John Sells, president and CEO of the company, which is based in Chesterfield.

Presiding Franklin County Commissioner John Griesheimer, who testified to the committee in support of the project, said studies show that there is a need for more senior living facilities in Franklin County.

The assisted living complex will provide a more independent style of living while the skilled-nursing facility will be a more enhanced level of care.

Sells said it will be good that the two different types of facilities will be next to each other because it will keep tenants from having to relocate to a different part of town when their needs change.

Moreover, it will be good for couples when one spouse has different needs than another. This way they can continue to live close, he said.

Twenty of the 60 skilled nursing beds will be designated for rehabilitation so clients can go back to a more independent style of living.

Benchmark Healthcare is currently developing plans for both facilities. Those plans must be submitted to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for approval.

Sells anticipated that the total project cost will be $9 million to $10 million.

Both facilities will go under construction simultaneously, with building hopefully starting this spring.

After construction starts, it will take about nine months to complete, Sells said.

The company has 27 acres at the intersection of St. Andrews Drive and Denmark Road for the project.

The assisted living/skilled nursing facility will be on eight of those acres, and it will employ about 100 full-time workers.

The rest of the land possibly will be developed in the future as independent living or medical office space.