Prince Albert of Monaco has confirmed that he has purchased the East Falls' birthplace of his mother, Grace Kelly.
The prince told People magazine Saturday that he is traveling to Philadelphia on Tuesday to discuss plans for the home, at 3901 Henry Ave., which was built by his grandfather, John B. Kelly Sr.
Before Grace Kelly became an Academy Award-winning movie star, then a princess with her marriage to Prince Rainier III in 1956, the brick Georgian house at Henry Avenue and Coulter Street was her home, completed about the time of her birth in 1929.
She lived there with her parents; her brother, John B. Jr.; and her sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth. Princess Grace died in 1982, her father in 1960, and her mother, Margaret, in 1990. Her siblings also are dead.
"We're still trying to figure out what we're going to do with it," the prince told People magazine. "We're looking at having it contain some museum exhibit space and maybe use part of it for offices for some of our foundation work."
Prince Albert was referring to the Prince Albert II Foundation, which he created in 2006 and focuses on environmental protection, sustainable development, climate change, and the promotion of renewable energies, as well as biodiversity.
The prince, who visited the house many times as a child, told People that he was "looking forward to showing the house to the kids [Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella], sharing it with them, having them see the garden."
"It'll probably be next year. We'll have to finish the work and then we'll have some sort of opening," the prince said.
The sale of the 4,000-square-foot house closed on Sept. 23, at a reported price of $754,000. The house had been listed at $750,000 when it was removed from the market Sept. 3. It was priced at $1 million when it was originally listed in July.
The city's Office of Property Assessment places the market value of the property at $605,000, with taxable land (0.69 acre) at $124,148 and taxable improvement at $451,452, with $30,000 exempt improvement.
The house was sold on April 10, 1974, by Margaret Kelly to Thomas J. and Janet Lawnton, who then sold it to Anthony J. and Marjorie Bamont six days later, deeds show.
Marjorie Bamont lived there for more than 40 years. She died April 20 at age 84.
"The house was very beautiful and very special to our family," Prince Albert told People.
"I remember one visit, one of the earliest I recall, Grandma put me up in one of the bedrooms upstairs," he said. "I must have been about 5 and it was one of the first times I remember when I wasn't put in with my sister."
"I remember just staring out the window, watching the cars go by, enjoying being alone," he said.