A gated treasure sits for sale in Lower Merion.
Last month, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced a portion of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is for sale or lease. The seminary sits on 75 prime acres across from Lankenau Hospital.
"It's not a fire sale. We are not auctioning it off tomorrow. We are entertaining all ideas and interests," said Laura Jachetti of the Archdiocese. "Whoever the occupant is will need to maintain the integrity of what we do-- no casino. It's very important."
And that means no Walmart either, according to Jachetti.
Marc Frohman and his wife Susan LaPalombara stood on their porch gazing across the street at the seminary. "I'm definitely nervous. They are in a tough spot. The neighborhood understands they can't sustain it," said Frohman.
LaPalombara expressed concern about the building being ripped down. "There's not this kind of land in Lower Merion," she added.
According to an Archdiocese news release, St. Charles will consolidate its seminary program in a separate upper campus bu idling and will retain 30 acres.
The E-shaped building for sale was built in the 1920s. It boasts 350,000 square feet in space. Some of the amenities include:
- four floors of usable space
- multiple chapels
- indoor pool
- fitness center
- basketball court
- marble floors and high ceilings
- three courtyards
- laundry room
- dining room
- three office suites
- numerous classrooms
- tennis courts
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput addressed the seminary program consolidation in his March 7 column. He wrote, "These are major changes - and they're not the last ones we need to make in the way we live as a believing community."
Chaput himself will need to move as he currently resides in the building for sale.
"What worked 150 years ago just doesn't work now," said Jachetti. "There's no rush we are just going to see what could be done with the property."
Archdiocese director of communications Kenneth Gavin confirmed the seminary "is its own legal entity with its own board structure."
"Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is the heart of our church in Philadelphia, and we remain dedicated to not only maintaining its presence in our community, but strengthening it for many generations to come. Our commitment to providing the best possible program of priestly formation for the benefit of our seminarians and the people they will one day serve is unwavering," said Chaput.
Interested in the purchase of lease of the property? Call the Archdiocese Office for Property Services at 215-587-3560.