Debating a Land Deal at the Ardrossan Estate in Radnor

An entrance to the largely private Ardrossan Estate.
Image via Frank Wiese, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
An entrance to the largely private Ardrossan Estate.

The set up at the Ardrossan estate preserves Radnor’s remaining open space, but it’s produced wealthy property owners benefitting from tax deductions and open land that’s not open to the public, writes Jacomb Adelman for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 1997, Edgar Scott, great-grandson of Ardrossan founder Col. Robert Motgomery, sold off pieces of the 800-acre estate to buyers who could get lucrative tax breaks and a luxurious homestead.

In exchange, they agreed to a conservation easement that bans development.

The new property owner gets a tax deduction to compensate for the lower value of the permanently undeveloped land.

But that lower value is questionable.  Ardrossan properties with easements are the most-or-second-most expensive residential properties in Radnor, Villanova, Wayne and St. Davids, according to Zillow.

“This is very wealthy people qualifying for a very significant tax break that is not going to provide any charitable goal other than providing more trees for wealthy people to look at inside their gated community,” said Dean Zerbe, a lawyer who helped reform U.S. conservation donation tax law.

Scott said he was proud of what’s been done to preserve “the last major undeveloped piece of property in Radnor Township.”

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about the development of the Ardrossan Estate.


For more information about the 38,000 sq. ft. Androssan Mansion, built in 1912 for the Montgomery Family, view Barbara Eberlein, Designer and ICAA Board Member, three videos below as she shares the inside story of the restoration of Ardrossan Estate’s “Big House.”