Will St. Joe’s Will Buy St. Charles Seminary?

It’s been a busy time for real estate news in Lower Merion. There was the announcement of the 284-unit apartment building on Righters Ferry Road in Bala (about a nine minute walk to Lord and Taylor), and a report of a 31-unit condo planned at the site of the old YMCA in Ardmore.

But the big story (as Jim Gardner would say) is the forthcoming sale or lease of a significant piece of the Archdiocese’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion. After the Inquirer first broke the story, there was this kvetchy letter to The Main Line Times by area resident Mike Weilbacher, and then…and then…hello?

The archdiocese has announced it’s working on the Main Line’s biggest real estate transaction since 1983 and nobody except Mike Weilbacher has a public word to say about it? Where are the protesters worried about Walmart? Where are the preservationists?

Here’s one possible explanation: Everyone already knows what the plan is. There’s this really nice Catholic college across the street from the seminary–you know, the one that used to have all those great basketball teams, the one that’s been expanding like crazy over the last few years and seems to have run out of room for any major expansions on its current footprint, the one that passersby think already owns the seminary, because architecturally the two institutions kind of blend together rather nicely.

That nice Catholic college would be the perfect owner or lessee of the seminary space, and since today’s been a good one for predictions, we’ll just come out and say it: it probably will be. –Gerry Senker