Planners of a 30,000-square-foot skilled nursing care facility in Union are a step closer to breaking ground on the facility.

Aldermen Tuesday approved a subdivision and planned unit development (PUD) for St. Louis-based Benchmark Healthcare, LLC. They were approved in two ordinances.

“I think this is a very neat, very good development for the city,” said Mark Vincent who is representing Benchmark Healthcare.

In July, the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee approved the need for a 60-bed facility long-term care in Franklin County. Benchmark Healthcare is applying for a certificate of need for an additional 20 beds than initially planned at the facility.

The construction cost is estimated at $7.5 million. Work tentatively will begin in February 2013.

The Benchmark facility will be located at the intersection of St. Andrews Drive and Denmark Road.

The development is expected to create about 90 full-time jobs in Union, Vincent said.

He noted that plans call for a walking path around the entire development that can be used by the community.

The entire 27-acre tract of land will be utilized by Benchmark, according to Vincent, but other portions of the project will be built in phases.

The property was subdivided into a three parcels including an 8-acre PUD where the skilled nursing facility will be located.

“Because there is more acreage than what is needed  for initial development, it is being subdivided,” said City Administrator Russell Rost. “They don’t know what the future use for the remaining acreage will be.”

Other phases could include a facility to care for early Alzheimer’s patients, or a rehab facility.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art amenities and infrastructure to improve and modernize the quality of care in the area.

There also are talks of Benchmark working with East Central College to assist with hands-on education for those who are enrolled in the college nursing program.

Benchmark Healthcare, LLC, is a regional operator and investor in senior housing properties, specifically focusing on skilled nursing care. The company is based in St. Louis with operations in two states, representing 20 facilities, 1,900 units and 1,650 associates.    

Benchmark Healthcare provides “affordable, high-value, skilled nursing services” to residents in rural markets.

The company was the recipient of Missouri’s first nursing home facility license almost 75 years ago.