LANCASTER (AP) -- One of the most valuable and historic pieces of land in Lancaster County is going on the market.
Belmont Farm, which totals more than 90 acres, is owned by the family of the late Aaron Hess, the former president of Lancaster Malleable who died in 2005. The property includes an Italianate style farmhouse as well as several other buildings.
Carol Simpson, chairwoman of the township commissioners, said she expects that whoever buys the property will want to develop it commercially. That has preservationists concerned about a property that will likely command many millions on the open market.
Tim Smedick, executive director of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, said preservationists have been talking with the Hess family for years about preserving the farmhouse, which was built between 1870 and 1874.
Smedick said the group wants to draft a preservation plan and present it to the Hess family. But there have been no discussions since the property went on the market, he said.
Telephone messages left by the Sunday News of Lancaster with a property owner and an attorney who represents the Hess family were not returned.
Dwight E. Wagner, of U.S. Commercial Realty, said the land will be put out to bid in the next several days.
In the 1990s, Lancaster General Hospital had considered building its health campus on the farm. Manheim Township officials also considered putting a minor-league baseball park on the site.