FARMINGTON — Known as Sunny Hill Apartments for the past 30 years, the former hospital site is now under new ownership and named Foothill Heights.

William Marceau, owner of Foothills Management and Development in Farmington, purchased the property at 276 Fairbanks Road from Clem and Rolande Begin of Carrabassett Valley on April 1.

Along with the name change, the 35-unit apartment building will undergo a major rehabilitation, Marceau said Tuesday.

The Begins have owned the property since 1980, when a complete renovation was done. A grand opening was held in 1984, Clem Begin said.

“I’m glad we could keep the building in good shape,” Begin said.

Franklin Memorial Hospital left the property for the new hospital site on Route 2 in 1975, according to a hospital spokesman.

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The property was purchased by a couple of men who planned to convert it to apartments until they realized the cost would rise to $600,000, Begin said.

The building was constructed in the 1930s and is all concrete and steel, Begin said. 

The walls are 16 inches thick with three to four layers of brick. Ceilings were 10 feet high. Those were dropped to 8 feet and insulation added, he said. There was little insulation in the building, he added.

The outside was not changed.

Begin added a new elevator at a cost of about $90,000, he said. It has 3-foot-wide doors and is about 7 feet deep, large enough for hospital beds. 

The 34,000-square-foot building is the only apartment building in town with an elevator, making it handicap accessible and easier for senior tenants, Marceau said.  

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He said he foresees the potential for applicants, whose income doesn’t qualify them for the new Brookside Village Affordable Senior Housing, to find a place across the street in Foothill Heights. It’s going to take a few months, he said.

“It will be a gradual transition of tenants,” he said. “Some have been asked to leave.”

Marceau intends to make the property more energy efficient, which he has done with the more than 20 local properties, including nearly 200 rental units he owns.

Foothill Heights will have new windows and the heating system will change from oil to propane, he said. More insulation will be added along with an update in the boiler room.

“We’re basically renovating all units,” he said. “The basics are good. They just need some TLC.”

Fifteen units have two bedrooms, 15 have one bedroom and five have three bedrooms. Some have about a 1,000 square feet of space, he said.

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The Begins decided it was time to sell the property. They still have 110 units all over the state which he oversees, Clem Begin, 76, said.

“I’d like to retire,” he said.

Marceau has owned the Thomas Building, next door at 286 Fairbanks Road, for the past 22 years.  

Years ago it was where the nurses stayed while working at the hospital, Begin said. When they came from upcountry and didn’t have a car, they would stay there for the week while they worked.

Marceau converted the building to apartments.

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