Construction is in full swing at the former Lamoine Hotel in downtown Macomb. Over the weekend, the front doors were open to the public for a few short hours to provide a glimpse of what is to come when the building reopens this fall as an assisted living facility with memory care unit.
Annette Carper, Executive Director of the Lamoine, said about 250 people came out for a tour on Saturday. The showcase event was held in conjunction with Macomb’s Heritage Days celebration. “We want to show off the work Chris Trotter and his crew have done to revitalize this old building,” Carper said.
The Lamoine Hotel was built 1926-1928. Its downtown location on N. Randolph St. and close proximity to the railroad station made it a popular destination for out of town visitors. It was also a popular meeting place and event space for locals. It was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 2010.
“So many people I talk to have a memory about the time they spent in the Lamoine, from 90 year old people to me! My first date was in this building,” Carper said. “If you’re from Macomb, chances are you have a pretty good memory of time spent in the Lamoine.”
The restoration of the Lamoine is a $6 million investment in the Macomb community with financial assistance coming from the City of Macomb.
The building is owned by Chris Trotter, the owner of Trotter General Contracting, Inc. He was hired to make repairs after the building's roof collapsed in 2014. He then purchased the Lamoine and gutted the building.
“He was down to concrete, brick, and windows. They have built it up and every single bit is brand new,” Carper said.
The Lamoine Hotel had 88 private rooms. This fall, when the Lamoine reopens as an assisted living facility with memory care, it will house 46 total apartments.
The public has been able to observe much of the progress made on exterior of the building including new windows and the construction of a large addition on the east side of the building. But until now little has been known about the interior renovations.
Carper said much of the building’s history was preserved during the renovations, especially on the first floor. The lobby is being restored to reflect the era. Also, the original fireplace remains and will be the focal point of the activities room and library.
Carper said there were two things that made the Lamoine Hotel modern in its day. “One, is that it had an elevator and it was the old kind with a gate that had the elevator operator in there and then the fact that it had bathrooms within the building,” Carper said. But she noted, the bathrooms were are the end of the hall, not in the rooms.
The lobby’s elevator is exactly where it’s always been and will be operational but updated so that it meets today’s safety standards.
The grand staircase also remains, thought it has been walled off at the top. Carper said they will use the space as a display area for holiday decorations.
The Lamoine will be an all-inclusive community for senior citizens. It will feature apartment style living, full-service dining, and regularly scheduled activities and socials.
The first floor will feature a dining room, ballroom, activities room, and library in addition to the chapel. The plans also call for building a 1940’s themed diner called Lucy’s. It will be open to the public for breakfast and lunch.
In the basement, there’s a pool table, small movie theater, barber shop and beauty parlor, as well as the staff’s offices.
The residential apartments are located upstairs on floors 2-5.
Memory Care Unit
There are 24 studio apartments total on the second and third floors of the building dedicated to memory care for those senior citizens with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Each apartment has its own bathroom. There’s also a dining room on each floor, making it optional for residents to go downstairs at mealtime.
Each room features large windows in the original style. Those on the west side of the building overlook Chandler Park. Carper said she thinks the décor is modern but also retro.
Hollister Home Care has been contracted to stage the apartments. But, all residents will be responsible for bringing their own furniture and decorating their space.
Carper said they’re already looking for residents. She said she expects the memory care unit to fill up quickly, citing a great need as the number of seniors affected with Alzheimer’s or dementia continues to grow.
Assisted Living Facility
There are 22 apartments total on the fourth and fifth floors dedicated to assisted living. The majority are efficiency apartments (with a kitchenette) and one bedroom apartments, although there is a two bedroom apartment on the top floor. Carper told Tri States Public Radio that no two apartments on one floor are the same. “They’re all unique apartments in their own way.”
Carper said assisted living is a good option for people who want to be proactive and control their health or for those who no longer want to live at home but do not need to live in a nursing home.
She said when a person moves into assisted living, they maintain the ability to make their own choices when it comes to their healthcare. “We’re just here to assist them as much as we can and as much as they need.”
She said all the apartments are designed with senior citizens in mind and the all-inclusive community they are encouraged to participate in.
“The thought is, your apartment is where you will be when you just need a time out, maybe to take a little nap or watch your favorite tv show and then of course it's where you sleep and get ready for the day,” Carper said.
Most of the apartments are for single residents, although Carper said a few of the one bedrooms could be shared by a couple who are willing to get cozy together.
Carper admitted that construction is behind previous project timelines. She said construction crews encountered many problems associated with the age of the building, “When they really start getting into the work they find more things to do that they did not expect to have to do,” Carper said.
She said the building’s status on the National Registry of Historic Places presented its own challenges.
Carper expects construction to wrap up in the next month or so. The building’s opening is scheduled for this fall. She said hiring is underway and they expect to have about 40 employees total.
Trotter owns the building, but he is working with Revere Healthcare to oversee day-to-day operations and manage the assisted living aspect of the business.