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Tranquility comes to Pa.

June 21, 1999

Tranquility Personal CareBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Sometimes John Hashempour wonders if he did the right thing when he bought the run-down Leland Hotel building in Waynesboro two years ago.

"I must have been out of my head," he said Monday as work was nearing completion to turn the century-old, four-story landmark on the corner of Main Street and Cleveland Avenue into a personal care facility for older residents.

Hashempour, 35, bought the building in March 1997 for $230,000. He declined to say what he has spent on renovation.

Contractor estimates at the time put the cost of modernizing the building at $1.5 million, a price Hashempour said he could not afford. He ended up doing some of the work himself, including remodeling the building's 36 bathrooms.

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Contractors, who have been in the building almost daily since the work began, have replaced the roof, all 200-plus windows, wiring, plumbing and sprinkler system. They also have restored the ornate woodwork in the main lobby and installed a new kitchen.

Douglas Pyle, building inspector for the borough, said the work has met all building, fire and safety codes.

The furniture in the lobby, dining room, activities center and other general areas on the main floor is new. Hashempour furnished the tenant rooms with used hotel furniture. "I couldn't afford to buy new," he said.

The building has a new 90-seat capacity dining room, an activities center with a stage, a new elevator and a fourth-story balcony fronting Main Street for use by guests in good weather.

Two large hand-painted murals on the wall of the activities center - one a map of Waynesboro in 1853, the other a mid-19th century view of Public Square - were uncovered during the renovations and are being restored.

Hashempour said he considered two possibilities when he bought the building as an investment - turning it into an upscale hotel with several dining areas or a managed care facility for older people requiring minimum care.

Rents, which range from $1,500 for a single room to $3,800 per person for a suite, include all meals, telephone, cable, recreation facilities and some nursing care.

"A hotel would probably do good, but it isn't my field," Hashempour said.

A jewelry maker who continues to work in the family business in Germantown, Md., Hashempour calls his new venture Tranquility Personal Care. He hired Carla Mumma, 32, to run the facility. She left a Franklin County government job as director of administration and marketing at the Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility will employ from eight to 12 people, depending on occupancy, Mumma said. A full-time nurse will be on staff, she said.

The first tenants will move in July 15, Hashempour said.

The Leland Hotel, as the building was called when Hashempour bought it, was occupied by about 15 longtime tenants. It took about two months for them all to move out before the renovation could begin.

The building originally opened as the Anthony Wayne Hotel, named after a Revolutionary War hero.

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