Much to my surprise, I learned from a colleague at work last week that St. Mary’s Villa (and all 45+ acres of it) is under contract to be sold to a developer. I imagine that this would be of interest to anyone living in our area, as St. Mary’s (formerly “Lindenwold” the estate of Dr. Mattison) has a rich history that contributed to making the town of Ambler what it is today.
The property has been in the hands of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and managed by them until this past April, when Public Health Management Corporation took over operations. Per a recent letter from Upper Dublin Ward 2 Commissioner, there is less than two years left on the lease with PHMC and pending an approved zoning amendment, the contract of sale will go through when the lease is up.
According to an article today in the Philadelphia Business Journal, the property is under agreement with Endeavor Property Group, Guidi Homes and the Goldenberg Group. PBJ reports that “the developers are proposing to construct a mix of carriage homes, townhouses, condominiums and senior independent living apartments. They also intend to restore an existing “castle,” two gate houses and portions of the property’s formal gardens.”
This will be a hot button issue to say the least, as there are many factors to consider. St. Mary’s is currently zoned Institutional and is tax exempt, so developing the property could potentially help ease the burden for Upper Dublin tax payers. Of course, keeping the integrity of the castle, outbuildings, grounds (including the lake and the angel) will also be of paramount concern.
The Upper Dublin Historical Commission is asking people to attend their next meeting on Monday, November 25th, 7:30PM at the Upper Dublin Township Building to discuss preservation concerns and the future of St. Mary’s Villa. They are asking that you please spread the word and invite anyone who you think may be interested in this issue.
Update: A letter was delivered to homes bordering St. Mary’s yesterday, Novemeber 21, from the developers “The Mattison Estate” inviting residents to a discussion surrounding the developers ideas for the property. The letter states that questions, comments and feedback are welcome, although the letter also states that the meeting will last just one hour, which seems highly unlikely. The meeting will be held Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:00PM, also at the Upper Dublin Township Building.