The Red Rose Inn, off Route 1 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, is set to be auctioned off in July as part of a foreclosure proceeding, unless Penn Township officials take the property under eminent domain. The township says it has ideas to preserve the three-story, decaying structure and use it as an administration building.
The building’s current owner, a 68-year-old woman who had until a few years ago operated a restaurant at the historic inn, believes the government acquisition of the property would prevent her from getting a fair market price. The woman purchased the property seven years ago for $1.3 million, borrowed against it, and now owes her mortgage lender $2 million.
Township officials are able to take the property through eminent domain because of the property’s intended public use and are already planning structural changes. According to the township’s board chairman, it is possible that the township may make a direct offer to the homeowner rather than go through condemnation proceedings.
Preservation advocacy groups are happy with Penn Township’s plan, although the owner of the Red Rose Inn feels that she will lose no matter whether the inn – once rented by William Penn’s grandson for the annual price of one red rose – is sold at auction or taken by the government. She says she does not have the resources to hire an attorney.
Without revealing how much she feels the property is actually worth, the Chester County inn owner said that while she thought she might be shortchanged on the value of the property, she still believed the sale of the inn would provide enough money to clear her debt and still have some leftover for her to profit from.
Source: Philly.com, “Penn Twp. Has novel strategy to save Red Rose Inn,” Anthony Campisi, 30 June 2011