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Caterer Tells His Plan for Willows Mansion

A high-end event space with an atrium is amongst the proposal being submitted today to Radnor Township.

The deadline to submit a proposal to Radnor Township for the Willows mansion and cottage is Friday, Oct. 5.

One person who is submitting a proposal is Jeff Miller, owner of Jeffrey Miller Catering, the exclusive wedding caterer of the Wayne Art Center that also has contracts at locations around the region including Tyler Arboretum.

"What the Willows lacks is one large space," said Miller, who said he has been catering events there for nearly 30 years. So he said their plan is to renovate the building and replace the current solarium with a larger "atrium" that could house a large event.

"The township and residents would have same exact use that they do now," Miller said, adding that the caterer would be most interested in weekend evenings. Miller said they may also partner with the Wayne Art Center, which could hold some classes, art shows, and music classes — "filling the place with art and culture during the week."

Miller said they would consider either leasing or purchasing the mansion; they would like to reserve the opportunity to use cottage, but is not sure in what capacity. He is working with Glenn and Kate Stevens, who renovated and own Lake House Inn in Bucks County.

"They’ve done exactly what we want to do here… with something in much worse shape than the Willows," Miller said. Maintaining the park and keeping it open as a park would be the township's role, he said.

Miller said they would also like to plant fruit trees, sunflowers and herbs in the area near the existing Skunk Hollow Community Garden.

"I'm hoping they don't accept a proposal from a developer for townhouses," Miller said. "It's beautiful, undisturbed parkland – I think our proposal allows for that."

Related:

Willows Proposal: 'To-The-Manor-Born' Experience

Elizabeth Chance October 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I love the Jeffrey Miller's idea of keeping the mansion and updating it, no more town houses!!!!!
Deborah Bettcher October 05, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Sounds like the perfect solution! Best of luck in your endeavors, Jeff.
Sharpie October 05, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Any new town houses should be built from subdividing the 177 properties already for sale in Radnor Township many of which are over one million $ or have enough square feet for two, three, four, or more town houses reconfigured for two-or-three story town houses w their own roof areas, basements, etc. All the infrastructure is already in place: roads, sewer lines, electrical wiring, plumbing, etc. Enterprising architects could draw up plans for the subdivision on any one of these estates, and buyers could purchase into the plans just as they would w new housing development. Make new town houses out of already existing large-scale estate houses. They would be more sellable, more appealing in today's real estate market where buyers are seeking smaller homes, and save undeveloped land.
Sharpie October 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Jeff Miller's idea for the Willows property sounds wonderful + it preserves the parkland.
Katherine October 05, 2012 at 01:13 PM
It would be wonderful if the Willows property remained available to the community whether through a memorable place and setting to hold events, or as a bed and breakfast, or both.
Sharpie October 05, 2012 at 01:20 PM
In fact, folks could downsize their own properties if they wanted to remain in the township w creative subdividing.
Jen McGowan October 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Here's hoping that Jeffrey Miller or someone with a similar vision makes a go of restoring The Willows to its rightful spot as a jewel of Radnor!
Janet B. Way October 05, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I agree, Jeffrey Miller is spot on! It sounds almost too good to be true. The mansion does need updating and coupling it with the Wayne Art Center is brilliant.
Joesy Melvin October 05, 2012 at 07:12 PM
just keep andy and his wife away from the place
Anne Mackin October 05, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Sounds great Jeff! Hope it all works out for you.
Ted M. October 06, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I still think a CSA style vegetable/fruit/herb garden like the one at Skunk Hollow would do great here. I hope Mr. Miller can accommodate this in his plans. Especially since he runs a catering business, he can grow his own food and pay neighbors to maintain the garden. An apiary would be nice here too. Honeybees are a de-facto endangered species and without them, we'd all starve to death.
Jeffrey Miller October 06, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Thanks all for your kind comments and support. A CSA would be great. There is tons of space for gardening, and the more the better, as far as we are concerned! An apiary would be incredible! We'd love to use local honey from the Willow's own bees in our chocolate honey truffles. And, with a garden, we'd be able to compost all of our food waste, returning it to the soil. Jeff Miller
John Child October 06, 2012 at 11:24 AM
I'm not sure that township code will allow apes to be raised in an apiary... they're very obstreperous, loud and hairy creatures that are prone to making obscene gestures to passers-by. John in Garrett Hill
Sam Strike (Editor) October 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Here is another proposal submitted: http://radnor.patch.com/articles/willows-proposal-to-the-manor-born-experience Also, I have an appointment with another party that submitted a different type of proposal for the Willows, so check out the Radnor Patch newsletter Tuesday morning to find out about that proposal.
Catherine Miesen October 08, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I vote for this! I hope your vision becomes reality!!
Liz October 12, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Just a note to let you know that Jeffery Miller is not the exclusive caterer at the Wayne Arts Center. They do have an open caterer policy.

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