Gary Allen, the owner of the former Ramada Inn on 2121 Ridge Road, understands three business principles: see the trends, understand customer demands, and adapt to the market.
Allen is converting the three-story, 70-room hotel into a senior housing complex called the Rosemont Senior Living Centre, which will provide full security, meals, cable TV and paid utilities.
“I’m trying to provide a nice environment and a safe place for independent seniors,” Allen said to Arnold Patch during a tour of the residence.
The new Arnold city bus service will stop at the center throughout the day. All the exterior doors magnetically lock at 7 p.m. Visitors must introduce themselves to a person sitting behind security glass at the front desk and enter through the building’s main entrance on the first floor.
“Even I can’t enter the building through the other doors," Allen said.
Residents also have a theater room for watching movie, an activity room for bingo or billiards games, laundry service and housekeeping.
The typical residence will be about 580 square feet, have its own bathroom and kitchen, Allen said.
The complex will accommodate about 40 seniors, and he hopes to complete the conversion by this fall, he said.
Allen decided to convert the hotel a few years ago when he realized there would be an increase in hotels and in the number of elderly people in Arnold.
“There was going to be an oversupply of hotel rooms and need for senior housing,” Allen said.
The Woodlands is the only senior living center in Arnold and has a skilled nursing staff on-site, Allen said.
The Rosemont has no medical staff, but independent health agencies will visit weekly, he said.
Arnold will need more senior residences as the population ages, said Dan Bish, the city’s economic development/planner specialist.
Bish is responsible for bringing businesses to Arnold and for expanding current businesses.
Todd Teuscher, a commissioner on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, said seniors should consider quality of life issues about senior living centers.
“There should be large windows and plenty of sunlight,” Teuscher said about a proposed senior residence at a March meeting. Access to a garden would also help people's frame of mind, he said.