Bromley Manor hosts guests as marketing effort begins

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MANCHESTER — It had been years since there were people milling around the former residential school and assisted living facility across from The Perfect Wife on Depot Street.

But on July 28, the complex, now known as Bromley Manor, welcomed visitors and supporters to the building for a first glimpse at what its owners hope will be a successful assisted living facility and aging-in-place community.

"We're ready to market," said Mary Norman, one of the investors in the project. "What we've really been trying to hustle is getting the building presentable — giving it a sense of identity and purpose as to how it's going to be utilized ... showing people what the dining room looks like, the quality of furnishings."

Two months ago, Norman and her fellow investors closed on their $1 million purchase of the property, just as an appeal of the town's approval of the plan was dropped.

Since then, it's been a series of 12-hour days to get the complex ready to host residents, meals, activities and caregivers once again, Norman said.

"I looked at today as a thank you for people who supported us," Norman said. "But now we'll start having open houses on a regular basis."

Phase 1 of the project, Norman said, will be 25-30 units of memory care and assisted living housing. Phase 2 will be the development of larger 1-to-2 bedroom apartments, and the results of marketing the property for the first phase will determine how ambitious the second will be, she said.

That said, "'we're thinking we might building them out very soon," with as many as nine apartment units ready to go by Christmas, Norman said.

The facility is interested in hiring right away, with dietary workers, caregivers, medical technicians, a nurse and housekeepers among the positions needed. By the end of Phase 1 she expects Bromley Manor will employ 25 people, Norman said.

Town officials welcome the added employment and investment in the local economy.

"Bromley Manor is another great example of the continued investment in Manchester. It is great to see the property back in use, and providing a needed service to Manchester and the Northshire," town manager John O'Keefe said.

Last Friday, the building seemed ready for its closeup. The dining room was set up for dinner. Keys sat in the mailboxes awaiting invited guests. Rocking chairs sat empty overlooking the well-manicured back lawn, where guests could imagine themselves relaxing and watching the sunset. And Norman was busy bringing small groups of invited guests around the property, showing and describing what it would look like.

The 60 days between the closing and the open house was spent making needed repairs and maintenance, a good deal of scrubbing, and "tons of paint," Norman said as she took a break from giving tours. "We had anywhere from seven to 15 painters here at a time."

Bromley Manor was built in 1999 and operated as Oak Knoll Assisted Living through 2001. It was then a school for adolescent girls through 2011.

Norman also is director of an assisted-living facility in Williamstown, Vermont. The Manchester facility is planned by Bromley Manor Ltd. Partnership, based in Tunbridge, and Spirit Master Funding II, LLC, based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Principals in the Bromley Manor partnership include Norman, Philip Dunn, Darryl Hardman and Coral Hardman.

Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000.

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