Owners Propose Historical Ardmore Buildings Be Demolished for Parking

Is One Ardmore Place to blame? Maybe not.

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.

Of course to be fair, Allison notes that Brad Paul and Louis Barson, the owners, have been coming before the Lower Merion Township Historical Architectural Review Board “several times over the past two years.” And although at first glance it may seem like One Ardmore Place is the indirect cause of the proposed demo, the owners cite the real reason they want the buildings out of the picture:

Paul and Barson said a different future use is intended. With them at the meeting was developer Pete Staz, who owns and renovated the building at 35-39 Cricket Ave. that houses pucciManuli and Viking Pastries. Staz said he has been “in discussions” with Paul and Barson about development of a mixed-use project on the site He showed HARB a sketch of a building that could fill the space.

“The site lends itself nicely to below-grade parking . . . and maybe a three-story building,” he said, one that he believes is “economically viable.”

However, Allison writes that HARB members are not convinced, especially since the structures are part of the Ardmore Business Historic District and designated Class I, the most protected buildings, which “may only be demolished by permission of the board of commissioners.” Moreover, they “said they can’t rely on speculation.”

Lower Merion HARB tables Cricket Avenue demolition plan [Main Line Times]