One was whomever had wanted to build apartments at The Exton Square Mall no longer wants to. That is not to say that couldn’t ever be proposed again, but for now it’s a dead plan.
But the other tidbit really made me listen: apparently the people who bought the Benjamin Pennypacker House contacted Justin Smiley and asked if West Whiteland wanted it back? Mind you I am paraphrasing, we will have to wait for the meeting recording for the exact verbiage.
Now I know the current owners who bought it from Church Farm School don’t live there. So I do not know what they had intended for the home. Was it too much of a money pit? Well, to be fair the years West Whiteland owned it (2006-2022) it was pretty much let go, and then given back to Church Farm School, who then sold it for $400,000 in April 2022…..
Everyone knew it was in beyond rough shape and I think it needed pretty much everything. The current owners have indeed been working on it. The house looks tremendously better.
BUT we have to file this under curious and curiouser.
Below is the post I wrote ironically a year ago this time, give or take a few days.
Never a dull moment in Chester County, that’s for sure. Here’s hoping this poor house continues to survive.
Below are screen shots of how this Realtor went live with the listing. How it was in Malvern, that it was a Colonial, etc etc. I said calling a house in Exton Malvern is just as bad as calling a house in Downingtown, Chester Springs. None of these places are bad, so just market truthfully, right?
Well I noticed today that the listing had ummm changed. Still not particularly well written but at least it reflected the correct town and that it wasn’t “colonial” in style or architectural classification. I mean come on, if you take two minutes to read historic resource survey forms on the property (in yesterday’s post) they tell you all about the style, etc.
But I digress. Now it’s better, but now some I know remarked was it historically hysterical or hysterically historical?
So now I have to ask if Church Farm School condones the behavior of the screen shots I am going to share at the end of this post? Because this Realtor is representing them and this property correct? So whomever provided the introduction to Church Farm, they would also have some culpability perhaps?
Church Farm School is an institution I believe in. But this behavior runs contrary to who they are. Church Farm didn’t send the “enlightened” to troll my blog’s Facebook page but because now a smudge and swirl surrounds this property and the listing, well do those of us who support this fine school in small ways need to re-think said support? I don’t think so, but it gives me pause.
Now the next things is this, Chesco Views still shows the property in possession of West Whiteland (screen shot at top of page) so did someone jump the proverbial gun here? I mean I know West Whiteland voted on it around the 26th I guess it was? But if the property still shows one thing can you list a property until that dust has settled and it reflects current ownership? (I don’t know which is why I am asking.)
So this is a curious tale, now getting more curious and there is probably much more attention on this now than Church Farm School wants. But when they are teaching their wonderful boys to be upstanding young men, and buddies of their realtor, egged on by said realtor behave oddly and unfortunately, well it gives one pause, doesn’t it?
And to have one of these buddies essentially imply I am anti-U.S. military and anti- Marine Corps because I don’t think much of this whole Pennypacker listing etc so far, well that is a step too far, isn’t it? I am not commenting on someone’s military service record (it has absolutely ZERO to do with the topic at hand and to imply that is rather offensive), I was and am commenting on that listing and issues I see, and now these other “professionals”, and they seem to be in part from Keller Williams , so how does their behavior reflect on that brand? Would you choose them to represent you?
Apparently this whole topic of the Benjamin Pennypacker house is now a hot local topic. Maybe it will keep the wrecking ball from the door? One can only hope. But Realtor and pal realtor types who left comments? Bad tactic and people will remember this, and you all did this to yourselves. Your comments were public on social media and were removed, but screenshots were retained. And they are below, as is my right.
This is all turning out to be quite curious. Especially since I don’t object to the property being sold, I just find things strange and really am hoping a preservation buyer finds this place.
Apparently it’s keep your friends close, and some Realtors closer? Have a good night.
Big, deep breath. That moment when you see a historic asset go up for sale with mistakes in the listing, surprisingly undervalued, and you feel like it has the same weight as listing a fast food restaurant and pad…only it wouldn’t be only $450,000. Is this being marketed as a RESTORE or a TEAR DOWN? Hard to tell.
Let’s start with WEST WHITELAND AND EXTON aren’t MALVERN.
This realtor is an unknown, doesn’t seem to to have the chops for this property. I am sure he will be offended by this, but that is my opinion, and allowed.
This is a historic asset. Whom would he know at Church Farm? Maybe it would be that person who was the former finance director at Easttown Township and now Director of Finance and Operations, perhaps? And did they get to know each other at Caln Township? (Also see this link and isn’t that interesting?)
This listing says “Malvern”. To me that screams Realtor FAUX marketing…you know like saying Downingtown listings are “Chester Springs”? This property is in EXTON.
The listing describes this house as a “COLONIAL”. It is not. And ALL you would have to do is look up the Pennsylvania Historic Resource Form which is publicly available in the Internet with a super quick search and embedded here. The style of this FARMHOUSE, which is neither COLONIAL nor a FRONT HALL COLONIAL it is FEDERAL or FEDERAL TRANSITONAL. Also referred to as RURAL FEDERAL STYLE.
I adore Church Farm School, but I am concerned at WHO the Realtor is for the property and the fire sale price for a historic asset on 2 acres. I mean $450,000 is like tear down pricing isn’t it? Is this really being marketed as such? And let’s talk it’s February, this is a house in need of serious work, and the snow and ice aren’t really 100% removed to make it safe to go see? That would now be a potential liability on this wonderful school, since it flipped back fairly recently from West Whiteland, wouldn’t it? (I mean even ChescoViews still has West Whiteland as owner as of today, right?)
And let’s talk West Whiteland for a moment. This farmhouse sits on a property that was supposed to be a park years ago, correct? Yet only recently began that transformation truly, correct? Now former Manager of West Whiteland Mimi Gleason was manager from 2014 until recently correct? West Whiteland got this property when? 2006? It was totally before her tenure, Michael Cotter preceded her, and then Michael Cotter next went where? West Chester Borough or something until he resigned in 2017? Who was the West Whiteland Township Manager prior to Cotter? It was a woman maybe named Christine Smeltzer (she shows up in Foote Mineral stuff)? Before that Steve Ross maybe?
So this house was in West Whiteland’s custody FOR YEARS, so why did it literally sit and rot? Why did it take so long for the park to actually happen? Why did this property essentially go from Church Farm to West Whiteland and now ALL THESE YEARS LATER goes back to Church Farm? Just so weird, huh? I mean why didn’t West Whiteland use the farmhouse for something? Even having to do with the park? Why now send it back to Church Farm?
Property was originally acquired around 1918 by Church Farm School. Originally they used it as the farm manger’s residents. So when did West Whiteland take custody of this property? 1990s maybe? I found reference to the Church Farm Property in a little book about Exton called “Little Bobby Reese Growing Up in Exton” – I found a copy of that book and will be writing about it soon.
And in this “History of West Whiteland”, you find reference to the Benjamin Pennypacker House:
So the description describes an eat in kitchen. OK it would have to be fit for habitation to have that, right? Is it? Look at the listing photos – doesn’t it scream demolition by neglect as a structure? Why didn’t West Whiteland maintain it better while they had custody?
Sign me very concerned about the future of this property. I wish it had a Realtor who did these kinds of listings more regularly, and umm, given the condition of the house and the weather, why not list it in the SPRING? Church Farm is a school, so they aren’t real estate magnates. But this property should have more experienced Realtors and at least an attempt a listing more appropriate to preserving this house and property. And who decided this was the listing price?
Chester County is losing too many historic assets and open space. Please let anyone you know looking for a historic property. If this gets torn down, it will literally be criminal to historic preservation.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if this is sold, but I am questioning if it is being sold as land and a tear down, or as a rough gem to restore? I am also questioning why West Whiteland seemed to practice demolition by neglect while they had this property?