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Hotel eyed as facility for seniors

January 22, 1998

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - John Hashempour, owner of the Leland Hotel, said Thursday he will convert the 100-year-old downtown landmark into a personal care home for up to 75 senior citizens.

Hashempour, 33, bought the 36-room, four-story structure in March. It took him two months to move out its longtime tenants. At that time, the building, on the corner of Main Street and Cleveland Avenue, had been converted to apartments. Kitchens for about 15 apartments were built into its huge hallways.

On Jan. 29, Hashempour will ask the borough's zoning board for a variance to convert the building to a personal care facility, said borough Building Inspector Douglas Pyle.

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Upscale living

Hashempour is returning the structure to its original 36-room format to accommodate single tenants and couples who are willing to pay for a convenient, upscale lifestyle. The building will have 25 single rooms and 11 with two or more bedrooms for couples.

Rental packages will start at $2,000 a month and will include meals in a communal dining room, complete maid service, a chapel and recreation facilities. He said he has started to hire the staff to run the home.

One architect's estimate to restore the building came in at $1.5 million, so Hashempour decided to do it on his own. He renovated most of the 36 bathrooms, adding new fixtures and tile floors, himself.

All of the wiring and plumbing is being replaced to meet modern building codes. Hash-empour has replaced the roof and more than 200 windows and restored the front balcony.

Hashempour is saving two large murals that were uncovered by workers on the first floor. Hand-painted by Patricia Flanagan Wilson in the 1960s, they depict scenes of Waynesboro in the 19th century.

The renovations will be finished by summer, Hashempour said.

He is a full-time jewelry maker in Germantown, Md., a profession that takes so much time that he returns to Waynesboro only on Sundays to check on the construction and instruct his workers, two of whom work full time and two part time.

Among the workers helping complete the project are Ira Mickley and his son Jeff.

The Mickley family has had a long association with the Leland Hotel. Ira Mickley said his grandfather, Elliott Mickley, was in charge of maintenance for the building in the 1920s. Ira said his father, Mitchell Mickley, helped his grandfather.

Pyle said regular inspections show Hashempour is meeting or exceeding building codes.

"He's not cutting any corners. From what I've seen, he's gone to the nth degree," Pyle said. "I'm glad somebody is doing something with that building. It's just a shame that it had to go down as far as it did, but he's doing it the way it should be done. It's good that he's doing this. There's a need for personal care homes for the elderly in Waynesboro."

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