Willows Mansion, Cottage Up for Grabs

Radnor Township is seeking proposals from businesses and nonprofits for the buildings and some grounds.


“The sky is the limit.”

That’s what the Radnor Township administration is saying the future could hold for the mansion and cottage at .

Anything is possible, including demolition or sale.

Township manager Bob Zienkowski has said that the township does not want to — or perhaps should not — be a landlord to an event space. The mansion has run in the red for at least the past five years.

So in a bit of an unusual move,

But here’s the rub: you can bring the idea, but you also need to bring the funding.

“We want it to be able to come to fruition,” Public Works director Steve Norcini told a group of people at a meeting about the Request for Proposals on July 25.

(Find a copy of the RFP in the pdf section of this article.)

Zienkowski said the township is looking for a partner to do something similar to what has done with . The township retains ownership, but the private girls school has built and maintains a turf field there.

“We want to see what opportunities sit out there,” he said. The Willows is “a diamond in the rough with tremendous potential, and we want to take it to the next level.”

What do you think should go in the Willows mansion and cottage? Tell us in the comments below.

Before the meeting let out, someone asked what perhaps is the most important question.

Everyone who makes a proposal will be expending time and funds. “What is possibility if you have the best proposal that it is ever going to come to reality,” asked Cas Holloway, a local developer.

“What are the chances that it would actually be approved?”

The odds might be pretty good. Come September 1, 2013 “this building will be shuttered,” Zienkowski said of the mansion.

Martin Heldring August 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Susan- a lot of reasons why we are where we are. years of financial mis-management and lack of financial oversight. Also, employee pension and benefit plans that are inconsistent with anything I have seen in the private sector (e.g. after only five years, an employee can get a pension and health care for life). The CBFAC report on the Township web site is excellent. Currently, i think we have very professional and dedicated Township staff but I am not sure we have the political leadership to execute their recommendations in a timely manner.
SSK August 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM
@Sam Strike, Cheryl, Martin - again I ask - There are township employees making substantial and long term decisions for the township who do not live in the township? Does that make sense? and how can that be? Wouldn't it make more sense that people who live in the township weigh in on long term decisions for the township? It would be like having commissioners who don't live in the township or in the areas they make decisions for...
Martin Heldring August 12, 2012 at 01:59 PM
It is not a requirement for employees to live in the township. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the elected Board of Commissioners based on the staff's recommendation. I do not feel it need be a pre-condition for staff to live in the township for them to make recommendations that are both financially responsible but also in the long term interests of Radnor residents.
Martin Heldring August 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Frank- the township has over $130 million in unfunded liabilities. should taxpayers be asked to pay another $20 million to pay for Ardrossin? exactly how will we pay for all of this?
Ann McIlvain October 15, 2012 at 05:17 PM
AM This is a park that gets ALOT of usage by walkers, children watching ducks, artists painting the landscape. There is SO LITTLE OPEN SPACE! This property is a gem, and offers a retreat from our own little back yards. The gorgeous buildings could house a center for the arts.... dance, theater, music lessons and concerts, gardening, photography,sculpture in the carriage house,exhibitions, etc in conjunction with the Wayne Art Center, if the Township and private donors would guarantee to finance any financial risks from renovation and remodeling, and ongoing maintenance the Wayne Art Center can not take. They have the experience to offer the township wonderful programs that all could enjoy.


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