, Salem, MA


August 15, 2012

A passion-driven project

Penguin Hall being converted into luxury senior condos


“We are going to build new buildings on either side,” Mullen said.

The project could add up to 270,000 square feet of housing. The first phase of construction will include 192 units all connected to Penguin Hall, which will get just four new condos. The second phase will involve the construction of three manor homes, also in the style of the 1930s, with 12 to 16 residences in each one.

So far, in the first six months, Mullen and Wise have signed up 98 depositors whose average age is 70, said Mullen, who is 72. The condominium laws require 80 percent of the population be older than 55, which means grandparents can take care of a grandson, or a mother and a daughter who want to consolidate homes can do so.

“We have decided that we are building 100 percent of the units connected to Penguin Hall in the first phase,” Mullen said.

Units connected to Penguin Hall will be 800 to 1,600 square feet, and are projected to fetch $350,000 to $750,000. The manor home residences, averaging 1,800 square feet, will be larger and sell for $800,000 to $1 million each.

The average monthly fee for all this is expected to be $1,600, according to the website. The fee covers inside and outside maintenance, appliances, and utilities such as basic cable.

Planned amenities include a fitness center, pool, a gourmet restaurant, Penguin Hall’s large conference rooms, flower and vegetable gardens, a putting green, and trails around the 50-acre estate and beyond, to name a few. There will even be opportunities to audit classes at Gordon College, Mullen said.

“They are not coming to a nursing home,” Mullen said. “These are vital, active people who are post-65, most of them, although we have people in their 50s. ... What they want to do is get away from the hassles of homeownership.”

Wise has built six senior independent-living projects on Cape Cod, and he projects about 80 percent of the people who live at Penguin Hall will come from within five to 10 miles, meaning that many residents will remain connected to the community.

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