• Dave Doll

Mermaid Lake - why so expensive?

The Whitpain Supervisors are moving forward with the purchase of the property formerly known as Mermaid Lake Swim club. They are buying the entire property – the pool area, the Barn, and the golf area. The former owners, who had been running the club, sold it last year to a developer, Metropolitan Development Group. Once the zoning issues were worked out, the family sold to the developer for $3.2 million.

Because the owners had already committed to the developer, the Whitpain was essentially locked out of buying the property at the time.

After undergoing a lengthy appraisal process, the market price was established and the Township has agreed to the established market price, $8.2 million. A 25 year bond has also been approved to cover the price.

Yep. That is a lot more than the developer paid a year ago. Quite a nice return on investment. But because the contract was already in place, the township did not have the opportunity to buy it last year. So it came down to a basic decision: pay the market price or walk away. And they paid it. We can argue if they should have bought it or not, but the price was the price. The sad part is that the family that had owned the property for so long actually undervalued it by so much.

The Township has not expressed any long-term plan for the property. But that’s no different than when it bought the land that became Prophecy Creek Park or the land for Centre Square Park. They decided to buy it before it disappeared, and hopefully something equally beneficial will come from the Mermaid property.

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