Phase 2 of priests’ retirement villa progressing

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On a recent afternoon, sunshine and sawdust filled the hard-hat-only second wing of the St. Rose of Lima Priests' Retirement Villa in Annandale. Although a busy construction zone, the addition is on track to be finished by August - and possibly welcome Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde when the Vatican accepts his resignation and announces his successor.

The wing will conclude phase 2 of the building, which opened its doors to its first residents, Msgr. Frank Mahler and Father Francisco Mendez de Dios, in 2010. The addition is a mirror image of the first wing and will add around 9,300 square feet.

Completing the horseshoe shape of the lodge-type structure, the new wing will have seven rooms - four on the second floor and three on the first, including a larger suite for the bishop. The more spacious suite will have an interior wall that can be removed to create two separate residences.

The original building consists of eight apartments, each with a bedroom, kitchenette, living room and storage space. The villa also has a gym, kitchen, guest suite, community room, dining room and chapel. It is completely wheelchair accessible.

As with phase 1, the work was funded by the Rooted in Faith - Forward in Hope capital campaign. Chamberlain Construction Corp. is overseeing construction of the second wing and started on the addition in January.

Currently, six priests reside at the villa, and other than the bishop, no one is slated to move in soon, according to Sister Kathryn Mullarkey, St. Rose of Lima residential manager.

Even with some humming of saws and pounding of hammers in the new wing, Sister Kathryn said the construction hasn't been too disruptive. "The priests haven't mentioned being bothered by the noise," she said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016