New owners hope to renovate Odd Fellows Hall and the Gladwyne Methodist Church properties into nine residential units, between condos in the existing structures and the construction of two new single-family homes on Righters Mill Road.
Main Line Realty Partners purchased Odd Fellows Hall, which they will rename "Fellows Hall," on Aug. 13 and presented informal preliminary plans Wednesday to Lower Merion's Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) to convert the historic building to two three-story condos.
They hope to build two 2,600-square-foot single-family homes on either side of the hall with attached two-car garages.
The sale of the church is contingent on township approval of an ordinance amendment that would allow conversion of religious organizations and clubs into multi-family dwellings; a public hearing on the subject has been scheduled for Sept. 12.
Initial plans for the Gladwyne Methodist Church, however, include converting the main building into three property units and renovating the parsonage, which is a twin home.
Both Class 1 historic properties have attached cemeteries, which Main Line Realty Partners intend to maintain by forming a non-profit. The Odd Fellows cemetery includes about 800 lots, 333 of which have not been sold and won't be sold, the new property owners said at the HARB meeting.
However, interments will still take place for those who already own lots there; there have been an average of three interments per year over the past several years, owners said.
Plans presented by Matthew and Sarah Doelger in April to renovate Odd Fellows Hall into two two-story apartments and a third-floor studio apartment fell through after the Zoning Hearing Board denied necessary variances.
The newly formed Main Line Realty Partners consists of Mac Brand, Scott Brehman and Tom Harvey. Brand, along with her husband, Craig, have renovated a number of properties in Lower Merion Township and won a HARB award for a Grays Lane home in Haverford, and Brehman and Harvey won a HARB award for renovating a Haverford home on Avon Road.
The group emphasized the parsonage and new single-family homes would maintain the same feel as existing properties on the historic street.
Still, Righters Mill Road residents expressed concern about certain aspects of the preliminary plans, including about the historic driveway to the Odd Fellows cemetery and the historic features on the Gladwyne Methodist Church like the original doors.