A December 4th letter from Deanne D’Emilio, JD, president of Gwynedd Mercy University and the Most Rev. Timothy Christian Senior, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia and rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary outlined a plan for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to relocate to a 15-acre portion of the university’s campus.
From the letter:
We have some important news to share with you. On Friday, December 4, Gwynedd Mercy University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary signed a non-binding letter of intent to move forward with an initiative that would result in St. Charles relocating the seminary to a portion of GMercyU’s campus. The relocation would include about 15 acres of space at the back of GMercyU’s campus and include Alexandria Hall and Visitation House. The residential housing and Campus Ministry functions currently located in those buildings would be transitioned to other areas of GMercyU’s campus. There are still many contingencies that will need to be satisfied before any plans could move forward. The estimated time for this transaction to reach conclusion is approximately two to three years if all of the conditions are met.
Following a period of due diligence, the next step in the process is to execute a final agreement of sale. We will share more specifics on the Seminary’s plans for the property at that time.
It’s important to note that this potential agreement is not a merger, consolidation, or anything similar. The Seminary needs to relocate and GMercyU has available space where they can do that. We will remain two separate and distinct institutions.
The seminary in Wynnewood was sold by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to Main Line Health in 2019. A CatholicPhilly.com article from the time of the sale reported that the seminary was nearing the completion of negotiations to relocate to the campus of Neumann University in Delaware County. A feasibility study between the seminary and Neumann University was initiated in 2017.
We asked the archdiocese what happened to the plan involving Neumann University and received the following response:
For the last three years priority has been given to ongoing dialogue with several local Catholic institutions of higher education as potential sites for the construction of a new seminary. In May of 2019, the Wynnewood campus was sold to Main Line Health with a five-year lease option to allow time for the relocation of all Seminary programs.
Neumann University was identified early in the planning process as a potential partner university, and elements of this plan remain “on the table;” however, upon our further due diligence, the Aston property that was ultimately offered was found to be costly in time and resources, and the Seminary’s Board of Trustees requested that alternatives be identified. Recent developments with Gwynedd Mercy University are a result of pursuing those alternatives.
More to come.