Part of a former nursing home in Cape Elizabeth is being demolished to make way for a new facility for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments.

Woodlands Assisted Living of Cape Elizabeth expects to open Evergreen Memory Care around October. The 62-bed facility will be built on the property on Scott Dyer Road where the Viking nursing home operated until 2005.

The $5 million project involves tearing down a one-story building, replacing it with new construction, gutting and renovating a two-story building and landscaping around the 5-acre property.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to grow,” said Matthew Walters, chief operating officer of Woodlands Assisted Living, which also runs facilities in Brewer, Hallowell, Rockland and Waterville. “Alzheimer’s is such a need. It’s something we identified as a significant need that is not being adequately met in Maine.”

The property has been vacant since Viking closed after a string of health and safety violations. Oregon-based Sunwest Management Inc. bought the property in 2006, but plans for its independent-living apartments and assisted-living program never came to fruition.

Woodlands Assisted Living bought the property — appraised at $3 million — at auction in September for $825,000.

Maine long has had a shortage of beds for Alzheimer’s patients, said Kathryn Pears, director of programs, public policy and public affairs for the state chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Age is the biggest risk factor for the disease, and Maine’s large older population means the need will only grow, she said.

“We have families that call us that have been on waiting lists for long periods of time, trying to get care for someone who needs help from a facility,” she said. “It can be months.”

The association advises families to get on waiting lists before the situation is dire.

Evergreen Memory Care will accept 36 patients in its first phase. The second phase will open a few months later, after the second-floor construction is finished, Walters said.

The 38,000-square-foot facility will incorporate common living spaces reminiscent of home, Walters said. Some of the space will be used for a library, a living room and a kitchen — albeit with nonfunctioning fireplaces and stoves.

“The idea is to engage them in activities they would be doing if they were in their own homes, so it doesn’t feel institutional,” Walters said.

The facility will employ 45-50 people at full capacity.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]