The large buildings, such as the president’s house and senior dormitory, were transformed into condos or apartments. New townhouses were built on the property by EYA, a developer. The townhouse development added five acres to the site, for a total of 32 acres.
The community is a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, 42 condominiums and 66 apartments. The buildings’ large hallways and fireplaces remain.
The Alexander Co. couldn’t restore the 19 main buildings and the eight sorority houses quickly, so the houses were sold to private developers, Rosenthal said.
One of the private developers is Lee Babcock, a principal at 360 Group, a real estate company. Babcock bought the Swiss chalet earlier and has been renovating it for two years, the average time it is taking to restore the homes, he said.
Babcock doesn’t usually buy the property he works on, but, he said, the chalet was different.
“It was just so compelling and such an amazing structure,” he said.
Owning the house makes it easier to renovate because he doesn’t have to worry about when the homeowners will move in or about a mess.
Babcock rebuilt the chalet’s framing and fixed the sinking roof and the hardwood floors. He added a wine cellar to the basement.
When the Army took over the property, it retrofitted the houses with indoor plumbing and kitchens. But it covered up distinctive parts, such as putting drywall over wooden latticework in the pagoda, Babcock said.
The 2009 real estate market crash halted construction for about two years, but renovation has resumed, he said. Work on the chalet should end next month.
“We ended up upgrading appliances to match the house,” he said. “It’s going to have European high-end appliances and custom cherry cabinetry,” he said. “It ended up being more of a luxury house than we had intended.”
Tours and programs are held at the National Park Seminary each month from March to November. Tour and program dates are at www.saveourseminary.org.