"Hello Mr. Developer? How much will you pay me for the family manse?"
This morning every developer in the tri-state area has to be positively orgasmic - Ardrossan is for sale. And shame on the current generations of the Montgomery-Scott-Wheeler family because there is probably more than enough money to preserve this estate for a very long time...if they chose to...now we get to see what Radnor Township is really made of....speaking of which, one of our board met the candidate for 5th ward on Friday evening at First Friday Main Line - John Nagle - what a much needed breath of fresh air he was to talk to is what was reported! He shares many of SAC's views. If we were the competition over there in Radnor we'd be very nervous about now...and people we have talked to say that is one of the big local races to watch in 2007...And isn't it true we have heard that people want change and leadership not hormonal grudge politics in Delco in general?
Back to Ardrossan...please note article mentions Merriam Estate and Annnenberg Estate....you see nothing is left officially now - it will all be carved up into chunks of McMansions and condos...we are about to become just a big suburb with no personality...boxes and boxes and more boxes in gated communities of course, because with McBoxes comes McParanoia....go take your photos now...Shame on the family that inspired The Philadelphia Story because they could be doing better than they are.
Read it and weep kids:
End of a class act"Philadelphia Story" epilogue: Ardrossan, a storied piece of Main Line history, is for sale. The sellers hope for a "creative solution."
By Diane Mastrull
Inquirer Staff Writer
Like a crystal flute of Perrier Jouet, the gossip had bubbled on the Main Line for many years: Ardrossan, fabled estate of the high-society family that inspired The Philadelphia Story, was about to be sold.
Now the time has come to put an end to the vintage rumor.
Ardrossan, finally, is on the market.
For anyone interested in buying all or part of the spectacular 360-acre grounds, including the 50-room Georgian mansion, "now is the time to make the call," said Edgar "Eddie" Scott III, a scion of the Montgomery-Scott-Wheeler family and its spokesman for the sale.
"Let's be clear: Now's the time," he reiterated during an exclusive interview with The Inquirer at Ardrossan, in Radnor Township. "Let's not rest on rumor or innuendo. The whole picture is too important to be vague about it."
Nonetheless, Scott, a real estate broker, said it was too early to discuss what would be an acceptable offer. Land in the Villanova neighborhood has been listed as high as $900,000 an acre. Ardrossan's price, he said, would depend largely on what the buyer wanted to do with it.
The family, he said, would prefer "to see a significant amount of open space retained."
With the "For Sale" sign up at Ardrossan, four palatial homesteads of Philadelphia-area eminences are in play.
In Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township, the late Walter Annenberg's 13-acre estate of Inwood - with an 18-room house, elaborate gardens and greenhouses - reportedly is under agreement of sale with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
Also in Wynnewood, Toll Bros. Inc. is expected to announce its development plans soon for Maybrook, the 42-acre manor of late art patron and developer John W. Merriam.
In Whitemarsh Township, the arrival on the market of part of Erdenheim Farm, philanthropist F. Eugene "Fitz" Dixon's 450-acre pastoral gem, has sent Montgomery County and private land-protection groups into a fund-raising frenzy. The 98-acre Angus Tract is valued at $14 million.
Ardrossan has spent almost a century as a rarefied retreat for the privileged. Led through most of its existence by the wildest social whirler of all, Hope Montgomery Scott, the burgeoning family and its friends partied - notoriously, it could be said - in the 1911-vintage "big house," beyond the iron gates and down the winding driveway three-tenths of a mile, past ponds and pastures.
But over the decades, as other estates fell under the jigsaw of development, Ardrossan also came to represent the region's tenuous hold on open space. Although nearly half its original expanse of close to 800 acres has been sold off or donated in recent years, Ardrossan is the largest contiguous block of undeveloped land in Radnor's 14 square miles.
"Ever since I was a kid, I drove by and admired the property," said Jason Duckworth, a developer based in Wayne. "I don't think anybody could feel good about developing it. It's one of the open-space gems on the Main Line."
....Duckworth, the developer with "real mixed feelings" about the prospect of carving up Ardrossan, said any development "would have to be done at a very high quality and in a very limited way."
...Ahhh but Mr. Duckworth few developers seem to think like you do, and you know that is right don't you?
Related: Society in its highest sensePlace and family embodied our dreams of the possibility of grace and beauty.
By Art Carey
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Aerial views of Ardrossan