A shore thing: Philadelphia sells vacation home for priests

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A vacation house at the South Jersey shore used by generations of elderly priests was sold at auction by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for $4.5 million Sept. 15.

Steve and Ilene Berger of Newtown Square won the bidding at $4.125 million for Villa St. Joseph by the Sea, a 19-room, 9,800-square-foot mansion in Ventnor, N.J., which has been owned by the archdiocese since 1963. They added 10 percent in sale costs, bringing the final price to $4.5 million.

The half-acre property could be re-zoned up to six lots and the house razed for multiple units, but the Bergers plan to renovate the home and to invite archdiocesan priests for an annual reunion.

“An auction like this is certainly a new experience for the archdiocese,” said Donna Farrell, Philadelphia’s archdiocesan spokeswoman. “We’re very pleased with the outcome and wish the Bergers and all of their family and friends many years of happiness in the home.”

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