Pat Croce’s Villanova Estate to Go to Auction [Gallery]

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Pat Croce — former president of the 76ers; author of inspirational New York Times bestsellers; self-described pirate; museum founder; and Key West habitué and bar owner — put his Lower Merion Colonial on the market for $7.95 million at the end of last year.

Now Croce has entered into an agreement with Premiere Estates Auction Company to bring the 10,500- square-foot home to auction on Oct. 25 “to accelerate the sales process,” as a Premiere spokesperson puts it. It’s an absolute auction, which means that there’s no going back — the highest bid will take the property. Absolute auctions can be intriguing if there’s the possibility that no one shows up except a homeless guy who read about it in the paper at the Free Library, and has a crumpled dollar in his pocket but nothing more.

This isn’t Trading Places, though. When there’s an auction for an estate like this one, rest assured it will bring more than a dollar, and from someone who knows real estate and the Main Line. If I were a betting gal…well, but I’m not (I’m sorry, Atlantic City. I haven’t helped at all).

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Pending Sale for $5.2M: Villanova Estate “Conamara”

TREND photo via Realtor.com

TREND photo via Realtor.com

Conamara (the traditional spelling for Connemara) is the name of a picturesque area in West Ireland. It’s also the name of this Villanova estate that sits on more than 10 acres of the vaunted Ardrossan land, where Hope Montgomery Scott–the inspiration for Katherine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story–once lived it up.

After being listed on the market for $7,695,000, it was slated for auction in April 2013. According to public record, it sold in July 2013 for $4 million and was placed on the market just weeks later for $5.25. Now, little more than a month later, it’s pending sale at that same price.

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New Project: Double Preservation Win in Gladwyne Means Church Conversion

The former United Methodist Church of Narberth is just one of a few church buildings slated for residential conversion. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Over the years, Main Line reBuild, a development partnership consisting of developers Mac Brand, Tom Harvey, and Scott Brehman, has established itself as a stalwart of preservation, “flipping” neighborhood landmarks without compromising their historical integrity.

Among said conversion projects are the former United Methodist Church of Narberth (soon to be condo apartments with lower-level parking), the First Baptist Church of Ardmore (a plan still in the works, but which may include “elevator-capable condo units,” Philly.com reports), and now, the Gladwyne Methodist Church and Odd Fellows Hall.

Aiding the preservation and conversion of the two latter properties is a recent zoning code amendment, which the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison says allows for the residential conversion of these buildings with “provisions for historic preservation.”

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Terrific Villanova Home With Oddly Purple Screening Room

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Talk about a study in contrasts: Outside, this lovely home on winding Greenbrier Drive passes for a traditional Main Line residence, one you can easily imagine delicately strewn with lights in December, though its advantageous position–set back from the road, hidden behind trees and atop a little hill–would make it tough for pesky carolers to reach the door. It’s the kind of home that may have been built in 1981, but evokes earlier times–and I’m not talking about the 1970s.

Or am I? Inside, the home is mostly modern, with plenty of white walls and sleek surfaces. There’s a contemporary skylight and sink, sconces and stovetop. There’s some molding, but it’s as subdued as most of the color palette.

But what happened in the screening room? Its walls, ceiling and microsuede theater seats are all purple. Very purple. If it were a book, it’d be James and the Giant Plum. The only other color in the room comes from three metallic female mannequins, and all I know about them is that they are not Academy Awards.

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Four Plead Guilty in Main Line Drug Ring Case

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police.  / Associated Press

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police in the case. / Associated Press

“Four people have admitted their role in what Montgomery County prosecutors call a drug ring operating along the Main Line that sold narcotics to high school and college students,” CBS Philly reports. “The four, labeled “sub-dealers” by prosecutors, pleaded guilty to numerous drug charges in Montgomery County Court.”

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The Fall of the Main Line Drug Ring

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police.  / Associated Press

Montco D.A. Risa Ferman with an AR-15 rifle and drugs seized by the police. / Associated Press

On the afternoon of April 21st, 18-year-old Timothy Brooks arrived at a courthouse in Ardmore, a mile east of his alma mater, the Haverford School. His appearance — khaki pants, blue blazer, square jaw — suggested good breeding. Walking alone, in handcuffs, he lifted his head and smiled at the assorted cameras before him. “Why are you smiling?” a reporter asked. Brooks said nothing and marched forward into the courthouse.

Twenty-five-year-old Neil Scott, Brooks’s alleged co-conspirator and fellow Haverford graduate, showed up looking less composed. Escorted by police, he covered his face with his blood-orange prison jumpsuit — his bail was set higher than Brooks’s, and his parents had declined to pay it — and told the assembled media to “get the fuck out of my face.” Then he popped out two middle fingers and concluded his remarks with a drawn-out “Fuuu-uck you.”

The perp walk was a fittingly theatrical start to the day’s proceedings. Scott and Brooks, along with nine suspected sub-dealers, were being charged with running a drug ring that aimed to supply marijuana, cocaine and Ecstasy to some of the finest high schools, colleges and weekend house parties in Greater Philadelphia. (The prosecutors’ allegations were outlined in painstaking detail in a 77-page affidavit.) Brooks called the operation the Main Line Takeover Project, and soon, so would everyone else. “Every Nug on the mainline is about to come from you and me,” he’d texted Scott last fall. “We will crush it,” Scott echoed in a separate text-message conversation. “Once you go tax free it’s hard to go back.”
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Haverford Modern: Is This a Hecto-Oxagonal-Geodesical-Solaris Home?

quaker lane

TREND photo via Christopher Real Estate Services

This home, built (quite clearly) in 1974, has that era’s California modern thing going on, but also a few contemporary touches you’d see in a home today, like the glowing red sink. Though it was previously marketed “as is” after a foreclosure, it seems to have been spiffed up quite a bit, with a kitchen featuring the following: “Italian Pedini cabinetry, silestone/quartz countertops, porcelain floor tile, a conduction cooktop, chef’s gourmet range hood, two stainless steel refrigerators, a large island, double convection oven, several glass door pantries, a butler’s pantry (with additional cabinetry, sink and second fridge) and a glass backsplash.” Updating the kitchen can’t fail.

More technically, there’s a new HVAC system and a pool surrounded by a new paver patio. But the photos really demonstrate what the house has to offer. Gallery below.

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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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Suburban Eats: Lobster Dinner at Susanna Foo

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Although news of Susanna Foo’s return to Center City was released yesterday, things are still up in the air as to when exactly that will be. And if you can’t handle the suspense, well…we can’t do anything about that. But what we can do is give you the scoop on Susanna Foo’s Weekend of Lobster Dinners in Radnor.

Starting Friday, July 25, and going until Sunday, July 27, head out to the Main Line for some good eats and cheap prices (when it comes to lobster). For $39, each guest can enjoy 3 courses – 2 courses of Asian Fusion lobster-style meals, plus 1 course to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dishes include Lobster Claw Tempura with Pei Mussels, Roasted Maine Lobster & Diver Scallop, and Jersey Peach Cobbler.

Make your reservations by calling 610-688-8808 or by clicking here.

Take a peak at the full menu »

Morning Headlines: Wynnewood Is One of the Most Popular Suburbs for Renters

Photo credit: Google Maps.

Photo credit: Google Maps.

Last week we heard homeownership in the area had been slowing down, only to learn the next day that the apartment market in Center City was cooling as well. So where exactly are renters going? ApartmentGuide points to the the suburbs.

Despite Lower Merion Township having some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the area, Philly.com’s Lauren Mennen reports the apartment-hunting website found Wynnewood to be the seventh “hottest suburb” for renters in the country after analyzing 100 of the most-searched cities between April and July. The numbers below may explain why:

According to statistics on the website, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom home in Wynnewood is $1,443, which is still cheaper than two-bedroom homes Old City ($2,137), Society Hill ($2,137), Northern Liberties ($1,582), Graduate Hospital ($1,512), and Fairmount/Art Museum ($1,495).

Lower cost and taxes aside, Wynnewood has a the advantage of having a “larger concentration of apartments” compared to other areas, all while offering better schools, more shopping, easy access to Center City, and being walker-friendly for commuters.

Wynnewood named one of the ‘hottest suburbs’ for renters [Philly.com]

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