Winning Bid to Develop Archidocesan Land

Jenkintown-based Goodman Properties has won the bid to develop a 200-acre-plus parcel on Sproul Road in Marple Township, property owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that backs up to Cardinal O'Hara High School.

The development could consist of as many as 300 houses and 800,000 to 1,000,000 square feet of commercial space, including a Wegman's supermarket, said real estate brokers familiar with the deal.

"All I can say is we're very excited to be selected as developer," Bruce Goodman, owner of Goodman Properties, said Friday. "Other than that, I can't comment at this time."

He would not say how much the deal was worth. Competing developers said the winning bid totaled $44 million for the property at 1971 Sproul Rd. Jeff Cohen of CBRE-Fameco was the broker.

An agreement of sale has not yet been signed, said archdiocesan spokesman Kenneth Gavin.

In an e-mail, Gavin wrote: "The property on Sproul Road was marketed for sale by the archdiocese some time ago and consists of over 230 acres. . . . As has been our past practice, we will make a public announcement about a transaction if and when we reach such an agreement."

The parcel stretches from Eagle to Reed Roads, extending along Reed to the Lawrence Park Industrial Center.

With the goal of selling the entire tract except for the high school grounds, the archdiocese solicited requests for proposals, said Marple Township Solicitor Adam Matlawski. The township did not participate in the evaluation or selection process.

"The anticipated proposed development is very large and very significant," said Matlawski, a partner in the Media law firm McNichol, Byrne & Matlawski.

"The review process they have to go through will necessarily involve hard looks at everything, including quality of life, traffic, storm-water runoff, as well as experts in engineering and urban planners," he said Friday.

The developer will be required to appear before the township commissioners, the Planning Commission, and the Zoning Hearing Board for conditional use and other relief, Matlawski said, adding, "There will be a number of public hearings."

This story was published through a news content partnership between and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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