Lynnewood Hall had undergone exterior inspections in 2004 and 2008 by a noted architectural firm which specialized in restorations of historic properties. In September 2011 the firm was again asked to perform an inspection by yet another interested party.
The firm in charge of that inspection was John Milner Architects, Inc. of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. This firm specializes in the restoration and adaptation of historic buildings and properties. The architect leading the inspection team was Mary Werner DeNadai, FAIA and a partner in the firm John Milner Architects, Inc. Ms. DeNadai had directed the three year, $39 million restoration of the Nemours mansion and gardens in Wilmington, Delaware which was completed in 2008.
Ms. DeNadai and her team were at Lynnewood Hall again on behalf of potential clients, which were kept confidential. She told a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer: “There are very few properties like this in America that are available for restoration and adaptive reuse. There is interest. The problem is the cost to do it.” She went on to explain Lynnewood Hall could be used for high end office space, a hotel or a special-event venue, but it could not possibly serve as a residence. She estimated the cost of restoring just the exterior of the mansion at $10 million.
Certainly, John Milner Architects, Inc. is eminently qualified to perform this work and the proximity of Lynnewood Hall to the firm’s Chadds Ford offices is a bonus. Aside from the economics of restoring Lynnewood Hall, there is the unprecedented opportunity to restore one of Horace Trumbauer’s premier neoclassical masterpieces, an opportunity that was completely lost with the destruction of Whitemarsh Hall. A restored Lynnewood Hall would also add significantly to the tax base of Cheltenham Township which is another added incentive.
This blog will record the on-going efforts to save Lynnewood Hall.
Source: “In Cheltenham, 4 Gilded Age Mansions Lie Vacant,” by Jennifer Lin and Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, posted April 9, 2012. (Philly.com)