Main Line Health last week completed its purchase of the 75-acre St. Charles Borromeo Seminary property in Lower Merion Township, the health system and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Friday.
The price for the property across Lancaster Avenue from the health system’s Lankenau Medical Center, was not immediately disclosed. A third-party lawsuit several years ago said Main Line had offered $43.5 million. The assessed value of the property, which includes a palatial college building built in 1928 and dominates the view of the property from Lancaster Avenue is $68 million, according to public records.
Last summer, Lower Merion officials complicated development prospects for the property by giving it historic designation.
For the seminary, the sale is a key step in a process that began in 2013 when seminary officials decided that operations on the campus were not financially sustainable. First, it planned to sell or lease part of the property while consolidating on another part of the campus.
That proved too costly, so in 2016, the seminary decided to sell the entire property and look for a higher-education partner to help operate the seminary, reaching an agreement with Neumann University in 2017.
The seminary is now in talks with the Sisters of St. Francis, the sponsors of Neumann, on the purchase of a property near Neumann that the Sisters own to build new seminary buildings.
Meanwhile, the seminary will continue operating on the historic Wynnewood property for up to five years.
Main Line said it will also use the property for education, while working “with both internal and external constituencies — in addition to the township and other community partners — to assess the optimal future use of the property by Main Line Health, while considering the historical significance of the buildings and the needs of Lower Merion Township’s growing and vibrant community.”