Parkshore executive director Annika DiNovi gives Transforming Age CEO Torsten Hirche a bundle of thank-you letters on Friday, Oct. 18.
Parkshore executive director Annika DiNovi gives Transforming Age CEO Torsten Hirche a bundle of thank-you letters on Friday, Oct. 18.
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Transforming Age invited neighbors to celebrate the completion of Parkshore's $30 million renovation and modernization project on Friday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place 58 years to the day that the senior living community’s founders broke ground on the residential tower in Madison Park.

Annika DiNovi said she was inspired by Transforming Age’s mission three years ago, when she heard president and CEO Torsten Hirche speak about how the organization was reimagining its communities with a focus on enhancing the experience for its senior residents.

DiNovi joined Parkshore as its new executive director last July, when Phase 2 of the major renovation was already underway. Construction started in February 2017.

“This day was intentionally selected, not only to celebrate the end of construction, which we’re happy to do, aren’t we?” she said, “but also to honor all that we have before us.”

Parkshore was opened in November 1963 through Presbyterian Ministries, Inc., which later changed its name to Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest (PRCN) before breaking off from the church. PRCN changed its name to Transforming Age in 2016.

Hirche interviewed with PRCN at Parkshore in March 2013, he said, at a time when residents were not satisfied with the lack of amenities and programs being offered.

Paul Aigner, Transforming Age’s vice president of real estate development, managed Parkshore’s reimagining and construction, which started with the development of a master plan five years ago. At that time, the organization was operating three communities.

“But [Hirche] said, ‘Make sure Parkshore is the first,’” Aigner said.

The apartments were small and occupancy was low, he said. In order to ensure changes Transforming Age made at Parkshore represented the desires of its residents, a committee was formed and met monthly to go over details of the future renovation.

“They were just the eyes and ears of the residents for this project, Aigner said.

Maria and Bill Wertz, who welcomed guests as they entered Parkshore for the Oct. 18 ribbon-cutting, were among the residents who served on the committee. They’d only been living at Parkshore for six months at that time, Maria Wertz said, but she had a health care background and her husband had operational experience. Every resident brought a certain strength to the table, she said.

Wertz recalled the state of Parkshore when they moved in.

“It was very dated,” she said. “It hadn’t been renovated in years. It only had one restaurant. It had limited space for functions.”

They applied to Parkshore in April 2015, and were able to move to the senior living community that August.

Now, with the major changes at Parkshore, there are more than 300 seniors waitlisted. Wertz credits Transforming Age’s commitment to realizing what seniors wanted in a community.

Wertz said she loves the new 360 Grille on the 15th floor, and she and her husband eat there several times a week. Another popular new amenity is the fitness center, which Wertz said is used by 60 percent of Parkshore’s residents.

A heated saltwater pool was also installed next to the fitness center, with enviable views of Lake Washington offered at the shoreline community.

The library was refreshed, and a new bistro space for more grab-and-go meals was added in the main dining room.

An interior grand staircase was created to connect the main floor to the Shore and Lakeview levels below.

The Exchange, a store run by residents that sells clothing, furniture and other items, was relocated into a renovated space on the Lakeview level, while the old Exchange spot was converted into a movie theater.

Most noticeable to neighbors on the outside is the new glass curtain running down Parkshore’s west facade.

Parkshore has 103 independent-living units, 28 skilled-nursing units and 28 assisted-living units at 1630 43rd Ave. E. One of the two floors for assisted living was converted for memory care units.

Learn more at parkshore.org.