For Sale/Rent

On the Market: The Most Expensive House for Sale in the Region

For now, at least. It wasn't three months ago, and it may not be again three months from now.


house for sale fort washington alter residence exterior rear

7111 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington, Pa. 19034 | Bright MLS images via Long & Foster Real Estate

Would you like to live in a truly unique house? A genuine masterwork, designed by the starchitect that gave us the Kimmel Center?

If so, you’ll have to shell out for it. Unless, that is, you wait for its owner to have a change of heart.

Or would it be his agent that’s advising the constant swings in this house for sale’s price?

house for sale fort washington alter residence exterior side

Exterior, side elevation

The house in question is Arbor Hill, the 36,957-square-foot house former Advanta Corp. CEO Dennis Alter built in Fort Washington at a cost of $80 million in 1999.

Part art gallery, part gym, part fortress, this house designed by Rafael Viñoly defies easy description.

house for sale fort washington alter residence entry court

Entrance courtyard

When Phillymag surveyed the wreckage of Advanta, the financial-services organization Dennis’ father Jack founded in the early 1950s, two years ago, we suggested that this house was emblematic of a “new Gilded Age.”

And the decor and fittings in this modernist house’s rooms suggest that Alter didn’t skimp on the gilding.

house for sale fort washington alter residence dining room 1

Dining room 1

house for sale fort washington alter residence dining room 2

Dining room 2

Or the excess. Two dining rooms.

house for sale fort washington alter house foyer

Foyer

A foyer that you could turn into an art gallery. (You could charge admission to help pay your mortgage.)

house for sale fort washington alter residence basketball court

Basketball court

An indoor basketball court complete with scoreboard. A 20,000-square-foot “playhouse.”

house for sale fort washington alter house master suite sitting room

Master suite sitting room

A master suite with his-and-hers marble bathrooms and a private outlook room. And a 29-acre lot to survey from that private outlook.

house for sale fort washington alter house den

Den

Alter told The Inquirer in 2012, not long after he had offered this house for sale, that “I don’t need 70 acres anymore” after he and his wife Gisela divorced. “It’s time to move on.”

house for sale fort washington alter house kitchen

Kitchen and breakfast area

At that time, the house had an asking price of $30 million. It’s now seven years later, and no one’s moved on yet, though 40 of those acres have been disposed of. And at its current asking price of $22 million, it’s a steal.

house for sale fort washington alter house home cinema

Home cinema

But wait! There’s more!

A quick search of the sale price history on Zillow reveals that the asking price has seesawed repeatedly over the last year. When it was relisted in February of 2018, the listing agent offered this house for sale for $13.95 million. A month and a half later, that shot up to $25 million, then it was reduced to $13.95 million one day later. Ten days after that, it was further reduced to $10 million. Since then, it has oscillated between $10 million and $22 million five times.

house for sale fort washington alter house view from pool

View of house from pool

Right now, it’s at the high side of the fifth oscillation. You might want to wait a month or two to see if there’s a sixth. Our deepest sympathies to the listing agent.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 9

BATHS: 9 full, 6 half

SQUARE FEET: 36,957

SALE PRICE: $22,000,000. Price subject to change.

OTHER STUFF: This house’s sale price was increased by $12 million on Jan. 31, the fifth time it was adjusted upward from $10 million. There have been a total of 13 price adjustments on this house since it was once again listed for sale on Feb. 15th of last year. Critics of the Zillow Home Value Index may wish to note the wild discrepancy between the asking prices, even the lowest one, and this house’s Zestimate.

7111 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington, Pa. 19034 [Janet Rubino | Long & Foster Real Estate]