Glenmede Saved From Destruction and Over-Development

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SaveArdmoreCoalition's picture
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Last seen: 25 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2005-10-13 :14
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We are thrilled to report that Glenmede is apparently home safe, virtue and history intact. One small comment/criticism: if township commissioners and others can move so darn fast to save properties like this in the high rent neighborhoods, why not us small fry too? Equal time would be nice....and better zoning codes, and a comprehensive plan before there is NO social security to collect.....

from www.lowermerion.org:

News Release - Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Township Lauds Bryn Mawr College’s Sale of Glenmede to Conservation Buyer
An agreement of sale has been signed by Bryn Mawr College and a conservation buyer that will protect the 16-acre estate and historic Victorian-era Glenmede mansion and ensure that the land is not subdivided. The estate was donated to the college in 1980 by the Pew family and currently serves as student housing. However, high maintenance costs and the estate’s remoteness from the main campus necessitated the sale of the property.

As soon as the new owners signed a letter of agreement with the College, they began working with the Lower Merion Conservancy, the land trust that protects open space in Lower Merion, on a binding agreement that permanently protects the estate’s sweeping vistas. The buyers have agreed to give up the right to subdivide the property in perpetuity in exchange for federal tax credits for conservation.

“The permanent preservation of 16-acres of open space that might otherwise have been developed is a wonderful outcome for Lower Merion Township and Bryn Mawr,” stated Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov. “The College’s willingness to ensure the protection of these landmark grounds and buildings demonstrates outstanding citizenship. Bryn Mawr College has set an example for all landowners to follow as we strive to preserve and protect our open spaces and historical heritage.” Commissioner Zelov had encouraged the College to only accept offers for the purchase of Glenmede from conservation buyers.

.....The sale of Glenmede has already begun to impact other landowners. “A neighbor has signaled his willingness to place a conservation easement on a nine-acre property adjoining Glenmede,” stated Commissioner Zelov. “This will give Bryn Mawr 25 contiguous acres of protected open space.”

“Open space in Lower Merion and surrounding communities is a vanishing commodity,” stated Board President Bruce D. Reed. “We are fortunate that the landmark Glenmede Estate will be preserved.” Noting the recent sale of the Annenberg Estate and the availability of Ardrossan, President Reed remarked, “Our best hope would be for similar action by these and other landowners who hold the keys to protecting our limited open spaces.”

Main Line Life: Glenmede Saved
By Cheryl Allison

They're staying out of the spotlight for now. But thanks to a set of anonymous, conservation-minded buyers, 16 acres of open land and one of Bryn Mawrís great houses have been saved from development.

Lower Merion Township officials, joining with Bryn Mawr College and the Lower Merion Conservancy, announced Tuesday that a sales agreement has been signed for the historic Glenmede Estate.

The private buyers, who wish to remain unnamed at this time, intend to place both a conservation easement on the land, relinquishing rights to future subdivision, and a faÁade easement on the Victorian Gothic main house, the first Philadelphia home of Sun Oil Co. founder Joseph Newton Pew.

....Their willingness to give up development rights means that 25 contiguous acres in the heart of Bryn Mawr will remain largely open, he remarked. ìItís an example that hopefully other private property owners will follow. And itís a good example of where local government can make a difference, without cost to taxpayers.î

Officials representing Bryn Mawr College, the conservancy and the township plan to hold a press conference at Glenmede Thursday morning to discuss the sale in more detail.

L. Merion estate to be kept intact
By Diane Mastrull
Inquirer Staff Writer

Fast action by the conservation community has spared a Main Line estate from what locals feared was a certain future as a subdivision of suburban homes.
Glenmede, the 16-acre former estate of Sun Oil Co.'s founder, Joseph Pew, will be purchased for $9.5 million by a local family that has agreed to give up the right to develop the Lower Merion property, which is currently owned by Bryn Mawr College.

"It's not often you get to preserve history and open space in one fell swoop," said Mike Weilbacher, executive director of the Lower Merion Conservancy, which, along with the college, announced the sales agreement yesterday. "We're just really lucky."

The conservancy will be in charge of enforcing a conservation easement that will be placed on the property, which dates from 1904 and includes a mansion of Victorian Gothic design by Quaker architect William Lightfoot Price. The easement will ensure that the property, including meadows and many mature trees, will not be subdivided and developed even in the event of a future sale.

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