Hiram Lodge is listed at $1.4 million

by Carla Robinson
Posted 4/17/24

After two years of sitting as a burned-out hulk in the middle of one of the Chestnut Hill business corridor’s busiest blocks, Hiram Lodge has been listed for sale.

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Hiram Lodge is listed at $1.4 million


After two years of sitting as a burned-out hulk in the middle of one of the Chestnut Hill business corridor’s busiest blocks, Hiram Lodge has been listed for sale at the current assessed value on city tax records of $1.4 million.

The 9,310-square-foot building, which has a mixed-use commercial zoning that would allow for new construction of up to 38 feet high (typically three stories), is not listed on the city’s register of historic buildings and does not have protection from demolition. According to city records, the Lodge also owns the adjacent rear yard at 8429 Germantown Ave., which is assessed at $153,600 and if combined would give the total parcel a larger, L-shape. 

The Lodge has sat caged and vacant since August 15, 2022, when an electrical fire sparked in the 145-year-old stone structure, sending flames through the roof and destroying the third floor. At the time, Lodge members sealed and stabilized the building and reported that they planned to rebuild. In the intervening years, however, they have not responded to repeated inquiries seeking information about their plans for the building. 

The listing agent, Glenn Gaines of Suburban City Group, would not say last week whether the seller was considering any active offers for the building at 8425 Germantown Ave. His listing describes it as a “versatile property poised for a mixed-use transformation” that comes with 20 parking spaces in the rear. It also describes Chestnut Hill as “an affluent residential area” with a mix of local and national businesses that attract local and regional customers. 

Developer Michael Young, who is building a 43,000-square-foot apartment building at the top of the Hill near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike, said he is not interested. 

“I’ve got enough on my plate,” he told The Local. 

Chestnut Hill developer Richard Snowden, whose company Bowman Properties owns a number of buildings on the block, had no comment. 

A long history

Despite not being protected by the city, the building is celebrated by local preservationists and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “contributing” building. 

The building's architect, George T. Pearson, designed more than a dozen significant buildings in Chestnut Hill, including several at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, the Keewaydin complex, and many other residences throughout the community. Most, like Hiram Lodge, are considered to be significant historic resources in the Chestnut Hill National Register Historic District but are not listed on the Philadelphia Register.

According to the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, the Knights of Pythias fraternal order built its Perseverance Lodge at 8425 Germantown Avenue in 1889 as a Romanesque Revival building with a hipped roof, two front cross-gables, an arched entrance, and two storefronts. Then in 1912, the members of Hiram Lodge paid the Knights of Pythias $9,000 to trade buildings and move into the 23-year-old building at 8425 Germantown Avenue.

The exterior of the building underwent numerous changes throughout the 1900s, including alterations to the facades of the storefronts and the addition of fire escapes. Most changes occurred in 1960 when the front façade was “colonialized” during a program to rebrand Chestnut Hill’s business district as a “horizontal department store.” 

Santander Bank lot

In other development news for Chestnut Hill, Young said his project, which will replace the old Santander Bank building, is slightly behind schedule due to weather and a last-minute design change. 

“We made some changes to the top of the building to make it more architecturally interesting, which means we need to put up more steel,” he said. “We expect to catch up in the next month or two, and are still planning to deliver the new commercial space sometime next month.”

Women’s Center

The original Chestnut Hill Hospital building at 8835 Germantown Ave., now used as the Women’s Center, has been a subject of controversy because it is included in the hospital’s expansion plans and preservationists fear it may be demolished. The Chestnut Hill  Conservancy has nominated the building for historic protection, and a hearing was held on the matter last week. That hearing was continued until May 10.

“The Chestnut Hill Conservancy has been working with Chestnut Hill Hospital on a compromise that would protect the majority of the historic building while also allowing for the possibility of appropriate growth and expansion,” said the Conservancy’s executive director, Lori Salganicoff. 


The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) has not yet scheduled a continuance for the March 27 hearing on a proposal to redevelop the historic, 6.5-acre Greylock property at 209 W. Chestnut Hill Ave. into a total of 15 living units –  six in the 22-room mansion, two in the carriage house, and three new construction buildings on the west side of the property, one triplex and two duplexes. The board had to continue the meeting because so many people showed up to speak.

208-10 Rex Ave.

A development proposal to turn the Louis Duhring residence at 208 Rex Ave. into four living units, add a fifth unit in an existing rear building on the lot, and then build two new single-family homes on the lot has been scheduled for a May 1 zoning meeting. 

7929 Roanoke Street

An application for a license to use the property for short-term rental services like Airbnb has been scheduled for May 15.