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Lehigh Valley Real Estate

This Lehigh Valley township just paid $1 for a 22-bathroom mansion. Now what?

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. — Real estate websites described it as “gracious.”


And $6.4 million worth of 36,800 livable square feet.

It was the Allentown-area mansion that took the internet by storm both for its eccentric character and its “French château design.”

Now, it's a 4.6-acre token of gratitude — albeit reduced to a shell of its former glory — donated to Salisbury Township by its owners to pay thanks to the first responders who saved the house from a massive fire three years ago.

In May, Ravenwood Manor LLC donated 3015 Barrington Lane, a former six-bedroom, 22-bathroom castle-like mansion, complete with an ensuite home next door, to the local government.

The move leaves the township with a property featuring some indoor portions stripped to its frame, land assessed at $1.3 million, and a tax bill over $30,000.

It also raises questions of what Salisbury will do with it.

The donation first was mentioned in the Salisbury Township commissioners' April 11 meeting agenda, under new business, requiring a motion to “authorize entering into donation agreement with Ravenwood Manor LLC.”

The board voted to approve the motion.

"It will be favorable for the township."
Salisbury Township Commissioners April 11 meeting minutes, quoting Solicitor Jason Ulrich

“Attorney [Jason] Ulrich [of Gross McGinley] stated that this generous donation has been discussed previously, and he believes it will be favorable for the Township,” the meeting minutes said.

Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said settlement on the property was completed on May 16, according to June 13 meeting minutes.

The Lehigh County Assessment Office shows the township was “sold” the property in May for $1. It had an assessed value of $1,327,000.

It has continued to remain vacant, with a Lowe's tarp covering the side of the house left exposed from where the “castle” part of the mansion once was.

The landscape is left unattended with boarded-up windows and doors.

Having not known its past, it would have looked abandoned.

3015 Barrington Lane Streetview
Google Maps
A street view of the Barrington Lane property in 2019, prior to the fire that burned the left-most portion of the house two years later.

Multi-million-dollar origins

The property was built in 1997, according to its Zillow listing.

A Reddit post scoffed at the mansion's former ballroom, meeting room, bistro and home theatre while scrutinizing it on a subreddit dedicated to "large, cheaply built, suburban homes with design flaws and a lack of architectural integrity.”

Numerous Facebook posts have ogled the massive property.

Its local fame began Nov. 15, 2021, when it was sold by local entrepreneurs William and Phyllis Grube to Ravenwood Manor — a limited liability company filed on Oct. 28, 2021.

On Tuesday, township police declined to release details of the investigation, saying the case "remains under active investigation." The rejection said Right-To-Know Act provisions "that specifically apply" to the request are records including those "relating to or resulting in a criminal investigation."
Salisbury Township letter concerning Right-to-Know Act request

The property previously was known as Ravenwood Manor, according to now-deleted Realtor posts, with a website dedicated to the sale of the house called Ravenwoodmanor.com. That domain name now is inactive.

The following day, just hours after the sale, the turret of the uninsured home burned in a three-alarm fire, leaving the rest of the mansion damaged by smoke.

The fire, which ended up rekindling the next morning, also sent two Cetronia Fire Department firefighters to the hospital, according to a release by former Cetronia Fire Chief Jay Hiecklen. Both made a full recovery.

Results of the Salisbury Township Police Department's investigation of the fire — which according to LehighValleyLive.com required the assistance of state police and Bethlehem Police Department’s arson K9 — have not been made publicly available.

LehighValleyNews.com on July 2 filed a Right-to-Know request with the township, seeking the report.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Donald Sabo, who is the township's Right-to-Know officer, denied release of the report, saying the case "remains under active investigation."

The rejection said the report is exempt from the state Right-To-Know Act because it is "relating to or resulting in a criminal investigation" and "relating to a noncriminal investigation."

Decreasing price

Restoration efforts began 10 days after the fire, according to court documents from Belfor Prop. Restoration v. Ravenwood Manor, LLC, amounting to more than $2 million by its completion in May 2022.

The restoration company tried to place a mechanic's lien on the house for $1,028,499.62.

It indicated that no one resided on the property through July 2022, and attempts to serve the lien could only be delivered to the 24-hour security guard, not Phyllis Jager, whom the documents identified as Ravenwood Manor's “organizer and sole member.”

Jager, a New York resident, has not been named as an owner of the property or connected to Ravenwood Manor LLC elsewhere.

Zillow shows the house was put back on the market in October 2022 for $3.7 million. The price decreased $200,000, then by $1 million in February 2023.

A month later, the listing decreased to $1.5 million, going on and off the market until it hit its lowest at $999,999 in January 2024.

The listing was removed the same month the donation agreement between Salisbury Township and Ravenwood Manor LLC settled.

A new future?

The fate of the property could change.

Township commissioners President Debra Brinton said the township's current intention is to put the mansion up for auction, following the “surprise” donation.

“While we are considering the sale of the property, nothing has been decided yet,” Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said.

Brinton said she never personally met with the former owners, but heard their donation was made out of gratitude for the local emergency services personnel who worked to contain the early-morning blaze three years ago.

"It was a generous — very generous — surprise."
Debra Brinton, Salisbury Township Commissioners President

“It was a generous — very generous — surprise,” Brinton said. "These people were extremely grateful to the township for what they did.”

Bonaskiewich expressed similar sentiments.

“We tremendously appreciate their generosity, as this can only be a benefit to the township,” she said.

Still, an auction seems the most probable outcome for the property, Brinton said.

“We’re not in the house business," she said. "But even in the state it is now, it’s still a valuable property because people will still want to change it any way they want anyway.”

When the mansion hit the market months prior, updated photos showed a barren interior with white frames and restoration work in the background.

Now, current market listings, although inactive, show the mansion in its prime.

What could the township get for the giant property, unusual fixings — such as a 16-car garage — and all?

It's unclear, but the commissioner meeting agendas show the township was billed $31,139.38 in Salisbury School District property taxes on July 1 and previously spent $14,950.29 in settlement fees. County taxes would amount to approximately $5,016.06.