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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Lower Merion Historic English Village Home Has Koi Pond and Artist Studio

626 Loves Lane, Wynnewood, PA

626 Loves Lane, Wynnewood, PA

Architects are lucky in that they get to design their dream home. This particular Tudor house is located in Lower Merion’s English Village historical district, and was originally built by an architect for his own private use.

Inside, historic touches emerge in the form of exposed beams, and a paneled living room with built-ins and a fireplace. Upstairs, the master bedroom has a dressing room and windows overlooking the street.

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Philadelphia Metro Has 27 of 1,000 Richest U.S. Neighborhoods

vintage villanova ad

Image from a home builders catalog via Flickr user MidCentArc.

The Higley 1,000 — the list of America’s 1,000 wealthiest neighborhoods — has just been released by by geographer Stephen Higley. For those of us on the East Coast, there aren’t too many surprises: We can shrug our collective shoulders at the news that New York and Connecticut are full of moneyed white people. But it’s interesting to see the results for the Philadelphia metro area.

First, let’s listen to Higley talk about how tough it is to define “neighborhood”:

The concept of “neighborhood” in America is to say the least, amorphous. Realtors are notorious at “stretching” ill-defined neighborhood boundaries of wealthy places in the interest of generating higher prices through a halo effect.

Mapping companies vary from identifying virtually every sub-division (ADC Maps) to the grudging vagueness of a few well known neighborhoods (eg. Thomas Brothers Guides, Rand McNally). Google Maps, my main source for updating the Higley 1000 for 2010, has done an excellent job of adding neighborhoods in recent years. Still, there are many areas that are difficult to name as a “neighborhood”. I have used a variety of resources in trying to identify individual neighborhoods including extensive use of the internet.

(That’s cute — “extensive use of the internet.” Well, yes, we all use that thing from time to time.)

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Lower Merion Okie Farmhouse Gets a Price Cut

Exterior of 825 Chauncey Road, Penn Valley, PA

Exterior of 825 Chauncey Road, Penn Valley, PA

Known for his precise hand at recreating and restoring historical buildings, architect R. Brognard Okie was commissioned to refurbish the Betsy Ross House in 1937. Three years later, the Colonial-Revivalist directed the design of this Penn Valley farmhouse on a little over two acres of land.

Singular features include iron hinges, wide-planked floors, and three “extraordinary” fireplaces. One room has a mural depicting sailing ships and rolling hills.

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Morning Headlines: A Rise in Lower Merion Crime

Surely even the most brazen burglar wouldn't dare to steal from Woodmont.

Surely even the most brazen burglar wouldn’t dare to steal from Woodmont.

Perhaps the only good to come out of these freezing days is that burglars feel it too. That’s what police superintendent Michael J. McGrath surmises given that the upswing in Lower Merion break-ins took place in July last year.

It’s the third consecutive year, according to statistics made public by Lower Merion police, to see a rise in burglaries in that area. Break-ins typically occurred during daytime hours and police believe they’re the result of drug prices going up.

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Big Turnout for Merion Meeting to Talk About St. Charles Seminary Redevelopment


At the Merion Tribute House on Wednesday night, Susan Guthrie began by telling her larger than expected audience, “We believe it’s better to be prepared and not needed, than needed and unprepared.” Guthrie is one of the founding members of the recently formed Coalition for Neighborhood Character and Quality (CNCQ), a community group which hopes to minimize the negative impacts as St. Charles Seminary moves ahead with its plan to sell more than half of the 80 acres it currently occupies in Wynnewood.

Earlier this week Property reported that the Pittsburgh-based HHF LP announced
last week that “it has been exclusively retained for the disposition of the St. Charles
Borromeo Seminary Development Site.”

Before the meeting began, CNCQ members had neatly arranged about 50 chairs in the front room of the Tribute House (the room that’s usually used for serving cocktails to wedding and Bar/Bat Mitzvah guests before they’re ushered into “the big room” for dinner and dancing).

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Carl Dranoff Under NIMBY Fire, aka Parking Parking Parking

Rendering of One Riverside Park via Dranoff Group.

Rendering of One Riverside Park via Dranoff Group.

Developer Carl Dranoff has two projects that are being challenged by nearby residents. The first challenge is to One Riverside, a 21-story tower at 25th and Locust designed by architect Cecil Baker, which has been embattled from the start. From PlanPhilly:

Since its proposal, One Riverside has generated protest and petitions from near-neighbors, as well as questions from some about whether the property should be developed at all.

The latest obstacle is more technical: an appeal of Dranoff’s conditional zoning permit, which I could explain but unsurprisingly involves parking, like every NIMBY battle, and I just refuse to go there. At any rate, it sounds like the appeal, which will be heard by the Zoning Board on Oct. 23rd, isn’t worrying Dranoff much.

Dranoff’s attorney, Peter Kelsen, said he is glad that the controversy over the project has at least narrowed…Kelsen said that a discussion about the legitimacy of the FAR bonus is preferable to the more existential question of whether a building should be there at all.

The other challenge regards One Ardmore Place, which has inspired so much ire, THERE’S A MOVIE ABOUT IT. No point in going on and on myself when you can watch the movie, which is called The Parking Lot:

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Montgomery Avenue: More Than Ever, a Magnet for Orthodox Jews

In 1957 there weren’t many Orthodox Jews in Lower Merion. There weren’t many Jews at all. The synagogues Har Zion, now in Penn Valley, and Beth David, now in Gladwyne were going strong, but they were still in Wynnefield. Main Line Reform was holding services in a big old house in Wynnewood. Adath Israel had already moved to its current location on Old Lancaster Road, in Merion, but construction on its big domed sanctuary did not start until the following year.

Also in 1957, Lower Merion Synagogue (LMS) moved to its current location, also on Old Lancaster Road directly across the street from Adath Israel. In 1957 LMS was the only Orthodox synagogue in the township. Its “monopoly” lasted for close to 40 years.

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Morning Headlines: 1,300 New Apartments Planned for Lower Merion Township

As it goes in the nation, so it goes in Lower Merion: Rentals are trending. Heavily. That’s why developers are betting on projects like a 33-unit complex at Athens and Walton in Ardmore and a 284-unit complex on Righter’s Ferry Road. Also, according to the Inquirer:

…115 apartments (plus offices) at the Palmer Theological Seminary at City and Lancaster Avenues, 250 units next to the Wynnewood train station, 121 apartments on a municipal parking lot on Cricket Avenue in Ardmore” and a plan for 40-plus units near Ardmore’s Suburban Square on Sibley Avenue…If all the projects now on the boards are built, they would increase the total number of rental properties in Lower Merion by roughly 20 percent.

Will this activity bring a new surge of life to towns like Ardmore, that can be a little too sleepy for their own good? Or will they flood the school district with too many new students? Read more here.

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