Here’s the Proposal for the Suburban Square Expansion


Oooh, the Suburban Square expansion proposal appears to be chugging along. Per the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison, Kimco Realty received a recommendation for approval from the Lower Merion Planning Commission for their tentative sketch plans two days ago. Now, the Building and Planning Committee is scheduled to hear them later tonight.

Here is what Kimco wants to do:

  • Construct four-level parking garage with 571 spaces at 75 St. James Place;
    garage would include 3,000 square feet of retail space at grade along Coulter Ave.
  • Construct two-story, 40,000-square-foot building at 100 Coulter Ave.;
    include first floor retail; second floor office space
  • Construct one-story, 3,445-square-foot addition to rear of Trader Joe’s
  • Demolish existing storage building with Class II historic resource (it was a former freight shed dating back to 1885)

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Arn Tellem and Franz Lidz Are Going to the Hall of Fame

Arn Tellem and Franz Lidz

Arn Tellem (left) and Franz Lidz (Photos: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame)

Franz Lidz moved to Penn Valley in 1961 “during a legendary blizzard.” A year later, he struck up a friendship with a boy who had also just moved to the neighborhood: Arn Tellem. The two ventured into different careers — Lidz a respected writer for publications like Sports Illustrated and Smithsonian magazine, and Tellem a “powerful sports agent you can actually like” — but remained friends. On May 28th, they will both be inducted in to the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Read more »

Update: William Penn Inn in Wynnewood Plans Get Conditional Hearing

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 3.27.28 PM

William Penn Inn c. 1875 | Image courtesy of the Lower Merion Historical Society

So what ever happened to the William Penn Inn in Wynnewood? Last we heard, it had been saved from the clasps of demolition thanks to an agreement of sale between Rayer Builders and William Inn Partners LLC, a partnership that ensured the new development proposal for the parcel it sits on would, unlike the first one, preserve the historic structure.

Well, readers, we got an update. According to the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Alison, attorneys for the dual developers had a conditional use hearing earlier this week. They presented the developers’ project as having crucial “need for setback and impervious surface relief” if the building is to be preserved. Plans include converting it into three condos, as well as adding new homes on three new lots. Read more »

Owners Propose Historical Ardmore Buildings Be Demolished for Parking

The historical Ardmore properties in question as of 2012. | Photo via Google Street View

The historical Ardmore properties in question as of 2012. | Photo via Google Street View

Ooof, this is definitely not helping the already partially(?) deplored One Ardmore Place project.

As previously reported, Carl Dranoff’s planned mixed-use development has been mired with dissenters since its approval, going so far as to inspire a protest in November. More recently, the project was connected to a lawsuit filed by six local business owners against Lower Merion Township after the township granted the developer a historical road for his project.

Now, the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports the new owners of two historical properties on Cricket Avenue (47 and 53-55) have submitted a formal application for the demolition of their buildings. Their reasons for wanting the demo? Parking. 

More specifically, temporary parking to alleviate traffic during the construction of Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place.

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Spotted: Lower Merion Victorian with Turret Bathroom

TREND photo via RE/MAX Executive Realty-Bryn Mawr.

TREND photo via RE/MAX Executive Realty-Bryn Mawr.

Lest the above image dishearten you, take a look at the home in snowless weather in the gallery below because, ultimately, we think it’s a winner.

Some of its more striking elements? How about a heated greenhouse room (potential art studio?), generously-sized master suite (seriously, it has a sitting area, dressing room, and bathroom!), and turret bathroom. That turret, by the way, also houses a curved stairway with stained glass windows. Additionally, outside is a carriage house with 1-car garage.

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Morning Headlines: No Property Tax Increase for Lower Merion

According to a release from Lower Merion Township, the 2015 proposed budget recommends no increase in property taxes. That’ll make it year number four without such an increase, which seems like a dream to Philadelphians — and helps explain why young parents find it tempting to cross City Line when they’re looking for a new home.

To get technical, the real estate tax millage rate is 4.19 in Lower Merion, and that’s where it would stay, though the entire budget is subject to debate at public hearings. The release says:

Despite incurring unexpected winter storm expenses of about $1 million in 2014, the year is projected to finish on budget. That has been accomplished with expenditure savings in other areas that helped to offset the extraordinary storm costs. This positive performance in 2014 is projected to allow the use of the unreserved fund balance to be kept below budget for the year, while setting a positive direction for the 2015 Budget.

Lower Merion’s Proposed Budget 2015 [via scribd]

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For Sale: Adorned Penn Valley Home with Spa Room Attached to Master Suite

44 Fairview Rd, Penn Valley, PA

Where to begin? This house is distinctively outfitted to say the least (hint: see the gallery to catch a glimpse of faux stone walls, pillars, tiger print rug, etc.), but I suppose what caught our eye first was the smiling pig standing in welcome at the entrance.

From the kitchen there’s access to the dining, family, breakfast, and great rooms. This latter area has marble and limestone floors, high beamed ceilings. and sliding pocket doors that lead out to the swimming pool. It’s capable of seating up to 60 guests.

Then there’s the master suite, which opens onto a deck and outdoor pool area and has a his-and-her bathroom that includes a massage area, plus a separate spa room with heated stone floor, “Endless pool”, and what looks to be a sky muraled ceiling.  Other bedrooms and a family room are in the lower level, which has an entry to the tennis court.

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Morning Headlines: Main Line Takes Steps Toward Revitalization

150 monument road bala cynwyd screenshot

Photo credit: Google Street View

A 207-unit apartment has been proposed for 150 Monument Road in Bala Cynwyd, a project to be presented before the Lower Merion Township Planning Commission this Monday.

The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says the planned six-story building would be situated on a seven-acre plot in Bala Cynwyd that currently hosts another six-story building used for office space. Allison also reports the project includes a central courtyard with pool deck, commercial/restaurant space (3,700 square feet), and a four-story parking garage, which is to have 673 parking spaces, 207 of which would be for apartment tenants.

The proposed development is one of many (some of which are already in progress), and the result of revitalization goals for the City Avenue commercial district:
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Midday Headlines: Barker Mill Still Looking For A Buyer

Side view of 1400 Mills Creek Road via Google Street View.

Side view of 1400 Mills Creek Road via Google Street View.

In 2003, developer O’Neill Properties Group bought a two-building property at 1400 Mills Road called Barker Mill. Their intention was to transform the site into luxury condos, while planning a third building to complete the set. Sadly, as tends to be the case in renovation and revitalization projects, things did not going according to plan.

Cheryl Allison at the Main Line Times reports the development went up for auction in 2012 after a suffering economy and condo market hampered plans. The site, which is included in the the National Register of Historic Places Mill Creek Historic District, has been vacant for years and is now the second item on the Lower Merion Conservancy’s 2014 Preservation WatchList.

According to the Conservancy’s website, the mill served as a gun manufactory between 1807 and 1865, and made rifles used in the War of 1812. It later switched to producing carpet yarn after coming under the ownership of William Booth and Thomas Barker, a fact which Rutgers University professor Richard Demirjian cites as an example of the country’s early struggles toward “greater economic independence.”
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From Movie Theater to French Hammered Pewter Countertop, David Magerman’s Gladwyne House Does Not Disappoint


$3.9 million is the asking price for Main Line Orthodox Jewish community leader David Magerman’s current residence at 1357 Hearthstone Lane in Gladwyne. The occasionally controversial philanthropist, restaurateur, and former hedge fund manager will soon move to his new home on Latches Lane in Merion, which is still under construction.

Some of Magerman’s soon-to-be new neighbors had grown accustomed to looking at the 75-year-old, 12,000-square-foot house that once stood on the 3.57 acre corner lot of Magerman’s new home. Magerman completely demolished that house to make room for his new one. Last year he told Property that the old house “was not very usable.”

The Hearthstone Lane house has five bedrooms that are “squeezed” into 9,629 of living space. That doesn’t include the 2,112 square foot very finished basement that’s home to a 13-seat movie theater. The entertainment center features oversized leather reclining chairs and is powered by a Kaleidescape server. In addition to the home theater, the house comes with five other flat screen TV’s, all 45” or larger.

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