Two East Falls development projects hearken back to brewery of yesteryear

 The 'Hohenadel House' in East Falls is under contract for sale to Felicite Moorman who hopes to restore the home to its 19th century grandeur. (Matthew Grady/for NewsWorks)

The 'Hohenadel House' in East Falls is under contract for sale to Felicite Moorman who hopes to restore the home to its 19th century grandeur. (Matthew Grady/for NewsWorks)

Seemingly unmentioned for decades, the name “Hohenadel” is currently being heard throughout East Falls In connection to two pending development projects.

The name Hohenadel belongs to a brewery that once stood at the intersection of Conrad St. and Indian Queen Lane, beside what are now SEPTA regional-rail beds.

Home to a community garden after the brewery’s buildings were razed, the site was overgrown for a number of years. The site is currently being developed for an estimated 12 townhouses by developer Mark Tirone.

A few blocks down the Indian Queen Lane hill, the so-called Hohenadel House – the former home of the brewery’s owner – is under contract for sale to Felicite Moorman. Moorman, CEO of East Falls-based tech firm BuLogics, hopes to restore the home to its 19th century grandeur.

The way-back story

According to Moorman, the Hohenadel House appears to have been built in the 1860s on what is now the 3600 block of Indian Queen Lane.

It was originally the home of the Dobson Family, namesakes to nearby Dobson Mills, and was later sold to the Hohenadel Family.

“This historic property has been lovingly kept, but vacant for three years,” Moorman wrote on her website. “It has an amazing history and wonderful charm, currently hidden under decades of best intentions [that] proved too challenging for its previous occupants.”

Remaining work, loan sought

For the exterior, the doors, windows, cornice and the existing stucco must be repaired, along with repainting and repaving of the driveway.

Inside, a new HVAC system will be installed, along with repairs to plumbing, walls and flooring.

An apartment in the property’s carriage house will also be reframed and finished.

The estimated cost for the project is between $500,000 and $600,000.

Noting that her family is not “independently wealthy,” Moorman and her husband Sean Hawley have applied for a Federal Housing Administration loan to complete the repairs.

There are a number of caveats involved with the 203(k) loan from FHA – the property must be owner-occupied and there is a six-month time limit for the project – but most important are the loan parameters.

For a single-family property the loan limit is $417,000; for a two-family, the limit is $537,000, which Moorman noted is “just enough” to fund the renovation.

However, the house is currently zoned for single-family use, and would need to be rezoned to multi-family to include the carriage-house loft apartment in order for the loan to be approved.

Neighborhood-zoning presentation

At a meeting of the East Falls Zoning Committee last week, EFZC officials listened to a presentation by Moorman and Hawley with interest, but noted that that it was not an official submission to the committee. Instead, it was presented for informational purposes, and will likely be considered at a future meeting.

Despite this delay, Moorman noted that her family is on a strict timeline for the project. A lack of approvals from the city by the house’s mid-November closing date could jeopardize the project in its entirety.

“Missing any of the above dates could cause us to default on the contract and probably eliminate our ability to restore this property,” she said, adding that her family hopes to spend Christmas in their prospective East Falls home.

Construction at Indian Queen and Conrad

Up the hill, developer Mark Tirone is undertaking a project that will transform the landscape along Conrad Street near Indian Queen Lane.

He was not available on Monday speak to NewsWorks about the undertaking, but sources familiar with the project said construction of the dozen homes is being conducted by-right.

Work quickly got underway at the site recently, leading some in the community to worry about parking along Conrad Street, where numerous residents use the roadway and rarely used sidewalk to park their vehicles.

Asked if any of the concerns of community members have reached his committee, East Falls Community Council’s Zoning Chair Bill Epstein said that as of Friday, no formal or informal mentions have been registered.

Personally, however, he is aware that the importance of the area to local vehicle owners and that the project could affect their ability to utilize the sidewalk to park.

“Whether it’s legal or illegal,” said Epstein in regard to the project, “it’s still a loss of parking.”

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