Frequently Asked Questions
What are you building?
Main Line Health and its partners plan to develop the iconic St. Charles Seminary property into a vibrant and sustainable “health and wellness village” that will benefit and support the Lower Merion Township area for years to come.
What is a Health and Wellness Village?
A health and wellness village is a mixed-use setting that is anchored by a healthcare provider. Some of the services generally include healthcare, education, residential, fitness and wellness, and social activities. This Health and Wellness Village goes beyond physical wellness and extends into multiple wellness to create a community committed to holistic wellbeing. The concept creates a health-conscious environment that reduces the risk of chronic, preventable diseases.
Once developed, what are the plans for accessing the site?
Prior to this plan being finalized, the project team will coordinate with LMT, PennDOT and the City of Philadelphia to ensure the most optimal traffic planning and site access design. At this time, the plan proposes that the primary vehicular entrance to the site will be a new entrance on Lancaster Avenue aligning with the signalized intersection at Lankenau Drive. The existing entrance on Wynnewood Road will continue to serve as an access point to the site, but will primarily serve the residents of the Lower Campus Building. Additional right-in, right-out access points will be activated along Wynnewood Road, adjacent to the Upper Campus and on Lancaster Avenue where there are existing curb cuts, but currently non-functional driveways in addition to the creation of a new right-in, right-out on City Avenue.
How is the team keeping accessibility in mind as they approach the concept plan for the St. Charles property?
Accessibility is important to Main Line Health and the full concept plan will be designed with accessibility in mind. The entire campus will be ADA accessible, and resources will be available to help those requiring support navigate between the campus and the Lankenau Medical Center.
What type of parking will be available for residents and visitors on the site?
There will be ample parking provided through below-structure parking garages for all of the buildings, except for the Upper Campus building where there will be ample surface parking to serve the anticipated low volume traffic of the residents, workers and visitors of this building.
We believe the parking provided will mitigate the impact additional cars have on the surrounding neighborhood.
Will there be any changes made to the streets surrounding the St. Charles campus (Wynnewood Road, City Avenue, Lancaster Avenue) such as additional traffic lights, stop signs, or calming measures?
As a part of our master concept plan for St. Charles, we will comply with all local and state regulations and seek solutions to mitigate the impact of traffic on the surrounding area by working with PennDOT, Lower Merion Township, and the City of Philadelphia.
It’s our expectation that as part of the development at St. Charles there will be additional roadway improvements implemented to support the mitigation of traffic on the roadway network such as adding turning and deceleration lanes, signal improvements, and more.
How much space will be dedicated to senior living?
Main Line Health is committed to the health and wellness of our aging community. There has also been an identified need by the Lower Merion Township to create opportunities for its aging population to age in place in LMT. Per the LMT Comprehensive Plan, there is an anticipated growth of 40% in the senior population in the next 25 years. Approximately 220 units will be dedicated to a mix of villas, independent and assisted living, and memory care.
How will this project impact enrollment at the Lower Merion School District?
We understand that residents in the Lower Merion School District may have concerns on the impact of this new campus on the school population. A recent demographic study conducted on behalf of the Lower Merion School District found that multi-family housing units, such as our proposed residential mix of studio, one and two-bedroom units, typically generate fewer school children as compared to detached single-family homes.
What is the future of the St. Martin’s chapel?
St. Martin’s Chapel is a beautiful building and is situated in a lovely setting on the property. We are exploring different uses for that space which supports our health and wellness village concept.
Will there be security on the campus?
Main Line Health has a well-established and comprehensive security and operations plan for all its campus facilities. Main Line Health will carry this focus of safety and quality forward to its new MLH buildings and St. Charles campus. As well, each building will also develop a plan for the security of their specific building and surrounding area.
What will the retail be like on the property? Will the retail be open to the public?
Another one of the components of a health and wellness campus is providing supporting services to the campus residents and visitors. Our proposed plan includes space for boutique retail and dining options along the promenade of the property, as well as supporting services to serve the campus residents, workers and nearby community.
As a part of our ongoing community engagement, we want the programming for these retail partners to include ideas from the community. This may also include potential commercial users from local organizations. The retail will be open to the public that visits the campus.
Will this development make this property taxable?
The St. Charles property has been tax exempt for many years and remains tax exempt at this time. Based on current development plans, it is expected that portions of the property will owned and operated by for profit users, thus allowing those portions of the property to become taxable. Portions of the property that continue to be used by nonprofit users for exempt purposes are expected to remain nontaxable.
What is the background of the seminary?
St. Charles is a Roman Catholic seminary based in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Established in 1832, the campus is comprised of approximately 75 acres of land upon which sits two primary structures: the seminary itself, and the accompanying Ryan Memorial Library complex, which also houses some offices, dormitories, and administrative space for the seminary’s operations. The campus features distinctive architecture and landscaped grounds that have been generally gated off from the surrounding communities since its inception. The structures are architecturally striking buildings that are locally landmarked. The campus features a significant, sloping topography that descends from the northeast to the southwest, creating a “valley” around Lancaster Avenue.
How will you enhance the area?
We are guided by the vision of enhancing the iconic and natural beauty of the St. Charles campus. We intend to preserve open spaces, respect community viewsheds, and finally, strengthen connectivity to the surrounding neighborhood. As you may know, previously, the campus grounds have been inaccessible to most people for many generations – through this development, we intend to open up the space to be enjoyed by all the Lower Merion Township community.
When will construction begin?
It is still premature at this stage to comment on when construction will begin. The Seminary will be operating on-site through the graduating class of 2024, and plans to vacate the site by the end of the summer of 2024.
Why does the site need to be developed?
Rooted in the belief that health and wellness are integral to the future of Lower Merion, Main Line Health is thrilled revitalize the St. Charles property into a Health and Wellness Village. This endeavor provides the opportunity to deliver transcendent care in new and exciting ways. Vibrant, sustainable, and respectful of the environment and history of the land, St. Charles will provide a place where the community can tap into multiple dimensions of wellness, and grow and thrive for years to come.
With the Archdiocese moving from the property in the summer of 2024, there is an incredible opportunity to unlock the St. Charles campus and make it accessible to the Lower Merion community and others, something that has previously been unavailable.
The buildings will require significant rehabilitation in the next few years due to the age and condition of the structures. Development of the grounds will support this work over the phasing of the project.
How will you adapt the property to accomplish your vision of a Health and Wellness Village?
At every stage of the project, we will continue to work closely with the Township to bring forward a plan that is informed by their input and meets the guiding principles of our design team to determine how portions of the property will be appropriately adapted and reused, particularly in areas where there are safety concerns that could pose risk to the public.
Who Can I Contact with Questions?
Please reach out to email@example.com