Heritage House in Independence is getting a major renovation for the first time since it went up in the mid-1970s.

The new owner of the facility, which provides affordable housing for seniors, says it recognizes that it’s not just a building but people’s homes.

“And so we take a very sensitive approach to that,” said Steve Greenbaum, owner and president of the Senior Housing Group, based in Chicago.

Among other things, apartments are getting new kitchen and bath fixtures, energy-efficient windows and wood laminate flooring. Work has started on the eighth floor – the top – and is to shift down, floor by floor, for the estimated 16-month project.

“And our plan is to work our way through the entire building,” said Greenbaum.

Managers say they are trying to minimize disruptions – the noise and dust of the work, moving from an old apartment to a new one – as much as they can.

“You have to juggle what construction has to do with keeping the residents happy,” property manager Melissa Burton said.

“The goal is to have people move as little as possible,” said Greenbaum.

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now the Community of Christ, built Heritage House in 1975 with a goal of providing good and affordable housing for seniors.

“They did a fabulous job of maintaining the building and seeing that it was serving the needs” of its residents, Greenbaum said.

Most of the 166 one-bedroom units have one resident; a handful have couples. With the renovation, nine of those units will become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Community of Christ sold Heritage House late last year to the Senior Housing Group, and that company has committed to the more than $10 million renovation and to maintaining its federal designation as a place with affordable housing for seniors for at least another 30 years. The sale also was facilitated by Independence Industrial Development Authority revenue bonds and state and federal tax credits.

Greenbaum said the church wanted long-term commitment to affordable housing, and that’s the business the Senior Housing Group is in at sites around the country.

“We were looking for the same thing,” he said.