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Waynesboro home should open soon

February 09, 1999

Leland HotelBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - It's nearly a year behind schedule and there's still much to be done, but John Hashempour says his conversion of the historic Leland Hotel into a managed care home for seniors may be finished next month.

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Hashempour, a 34-year-old Germantown, Md., jewelry maker, bought the century-old four-story building at Main Street and Cleveland Avenue in March 1997 for $230,000. He plans to name it Tranquility Personal Care.

He has had workers in the building ever since, replacing the roof, all 200 windows and the plumbing and wiring. The 36 hotel rooms are becoming 11 suites, six one-bedroom units, five two-bedroom, and the rest single rooms. None will have kitchens.

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Tenants will eat their meals together in a main dining room. Meals, house cleaning, basic medical care and recreational activities will be included in the rent, which Hashempour has said will be in the $2,000-a-month range, depending on the unit.

He said Monday he hopes to finish construction in time for a planned open house March 21. "That's my birthday and two years to the day when I bought the building."

Hashempour said he won't accept tenants until sometime in June. It will take that long to furnish the rooms and hire the professional staff to run the home.

When filled, the home will have about 70 residents, including couples and singles, he said. There is no residency requirement.

The staff will include a professional managed home care manager, office personnel, a chef, nurses, activities director, maintenance and housekeeping workers. As many as 50 full- and part-time positions will be filled, depending on occupancy, Hashempour said.

No government funds are going into the project. It's being financed through bank and private loans. His parents mortgaged their properties to help him out, he said.

The basement will house the kitchen and community room while the main floor contains the lobby, activities center and dining room, along with a few resident rooms. Apartments and rooms will fill the top three floors. A large decked balcony for use by residents is being built on the third floor roof facing Main Street, and a new elevator is being installed in the old shaft.

The building's massive ornate woodwork is being stripped before it is repainted. There is a new sprinkler system and the interior will be carpeted. Hallways and open areas will be wallpapered. Two large murals on a wall in what will be the activities center depict scenes in Waynesboro in the 19th century. They were painted by Waynesboro artist Patricia Flanagan in the 1960s. They were uncovered during construction and are being restored.

Douglas Pyle, building inspector for Waynesboro, said he has made regular inspections of the building during construction.

"He isn't cutting any corners," Pyle said. "He's been meeting all fire, electrical and engineering codes. Everything in there has been open so long that there's nowhere to hide anything anyway."

The closest facility in Waynesboro to a managed care home is Trinity House, which has about 75 tenants. That facility's senior citizens and disabled residents receive government rent subsidies based on their income, said Manager Victoria Doyle. Each apartment has its own kitchen.

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