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HAVERFORD TWP., PA-Competition begins in earnest at a public meeting here this week when nine developers unveil detailed plans for the 212.7-acre site that once housed Haverford State Hospital. The township acquired the property from the state in December 2002. According to published reports, the price was $3.5 million.

Although 20 vacant hospital buildings, which will have to be demolished, stand on 60 acres within the parcel, the site is coveted. It is the largest tract of open space along Philadelphia’s Main Line and possibly the largest in Delaware County.

The township requires that from 120 to 135 acres remain open space and that between 25 and 35 acres be devoted to public use. A “master developer” will be selected to purchase the remaining acreage for a price that is yet to be determined. The “plan” is subject to numerous restrictions regarding density, traffic, and impact on the area, including its schools. Consequently, a majority of the proposed plans call for a primarily residential complex, targeted to affluent seniors.

The eight Philadelphia-area firms competing are: a JV between Plymouth Meeting-based Brandywine Realty Trust and Trevose-based Pulte Homes, Blue Bell-based DePaul Group, a JV between Blue Bell-based Goldenberg Group and Malvern-based Pohlig Builders, Yardley-based Hovnanian Pennsylvania Inc., Havertown-based Iacobucci Homes, King of Prussia-based O’Neill Properties Group, New Hope-based Scannapjeco Development Corp., and Yardley-based Realen Homes LP, which is a partnership between Berwind Property Group and DeLuca Homes.

Baltimore-based Erickson Retirement Communities is the ninth competitor. A few of the plans are for single-family housing only; two are multifamily only, and a majority include a mix of both.

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