PHOTOS: Historic Chester Co. mansion to be auctioned

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

EAST WHITELAND TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A Chester County mansion built in the 19th century, that until now has survived falling to the suburban sprawl surrounding it, is going up for auction this week.

The 6,522 square foot Swiss Gothic style home known as Loch Aerie, which sits on a two acre plot of land at 700 Lancaster Pike in East Whiteland Twp., hits the block at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The minimum bid for the expansive property is $250,000.

The website for auction house Max Spann touts its high visibility location at the intersection of Routes 30 and 202, and suggests numerous uses ranging from a restaurant, hotel, daycare, medical facility, or office building.

It currently sits across from a Sheraton hotel and adjacent to a Home Depot, with a parking lot extending behind the mansion.

"Grow your business in this classic and majestic 6,522+/- sq ft stone mansion," reads one bullet point on the auctioneer's website.

The site also notes that while Loch Aerie is historic, it is not a preserved property, "allowing for numerous configurations to fit your business plan."

That worries advocates for its preservation, who fear a buyer could demolish the mansion.

Carla Joy Zambelli, who runs the Facebook page 'Historic Loch Aerie/Lockwood Mansion Should Be Saved' told it is a "magical place."

"When you go inside Loch Aerie as I did, for two of the open houses to photograph her, you were almost removed to another time and place," Zambelli said.

"And the most fascinating thing is now she sits with Lancaster Avenue in front of her, Route 202 to the rear and a Home Depot on the other side, you forget ALL about that when you step inside her big front doors."

Zambelli also had her own thoughts for Loch Aerie's future.

"I think a preservation buyer who might consider turning Loch Aerie into a small boutique hotel with a chic little restaurant on the first floor would work. Or a rehab that would make it an event space or corporate retreat. Or a bed and breakfast inn. Realistically there is a need for that given the commercial corridor in which Loch Aerie sits," she said.

"She has survived this long. She deserves preservation."