Archdiocese to sell part of Lower Merion seminary

Posted: March 08, 2013

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Thursday it will sell or lease a large portion of the land occupied by the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion, keeping 30 acres and some existing buildings for the college.

Money from a sale will be used to "ensure the seminary's long-term sustainability," Archbishop Charles Chaput said in his weekly column.

Like other seminaries, St. Charles Borromeo, which displays a grandiosity of a different era in some of its buildings, has seen enrollment declines.

From 1999 through 2009, enrollment at St. Charles Borromeo, based on full-time equivalents, fell to 185 from 295, according to federal data.

In two additional moves, the Borromeo board agreed to appoint a task force "to review and consider the future of the college division" and to develop a "Spirituality Year," a program to encourage young men to join the priesthood, Chaput said.

St. Charles Borromeo would not be the first seminary in Lower Merion to be eyed for residential and commercial development.

Eastern University, whose main campus is in Radnor Township, has an agreement to sell the former campus of the Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood to developers for $9 million.

Last year, Eastern moved its seminary from the 110,000 square foot facility in Wynnewood to 20,000 square feet of rented space in King of Prussia.

Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or

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