Last week we had the opportunity to meet with Joe Rutowski, who along with his wife Carol, recently purchased the home at the corner of East 5th Avenue and Hallowell Street with the idea of converting it into a bed & breakfast. The home was built in 1876 by steel magnate Alan Wood for his daughter. It was most recently owned by Ed Opielski, who passed away in November 2015.
The Rutowski’s had been inquiring about the property for a couple years. Opielski, who we knew, told us more than a few times that someone was interested in buying his home for a bed & breakfast. It is definitely a use that Opielski would approve of.
One question we had for Rutowski was whether he planned to live in the house. We had learned earlier that if the homeowner lives in a home, there isn’t any type of approval needed from the Borough. If the property owners do not plan to live in the home, an approval is needed via the Zoning Hearing Board (basically this type of commercial use in a residential district). In the immediate future the Rutowski’s do not plan to live in the home or manage the bed and breakfast themselves. Their plan is to seek approval from the Zoning Hearing Board. Down the line, they could make their home there.
As of now, the renovations have started. Bushes that have blocked anyone from having a good view of the property have been removed and the roof is being fixed. Overall the renovations will take until just before the holidays. If completed on schedule, the Rutowski’s are considering decorating the property for Christmas and giving tours.
The day the plans for this home became public, Conshohocken’s Borough Council tabled a discussion on what to do with Leelan Mansion, a historic mansion at West 8th and Fayette Street that had one time served as Borough Hall. There was a study conducted that found that a bed & breakfast could be a viable use of that property, however, that was before there was another potential bed & breakfast.
Stay tuned for more on this renovation.