The Merion Sails Into Town

With roughly half of Horizon Realty Group’s $20 million renovation of the North Shore Retirement Hotel complete, the new father-and-son property owners of the reborn luxury rental apartments for active seniors have reached back into the family’s history for a new name that brands it as uniquely their own: The Merion.


The name was inspired by the SS Merion, an ocean liner that was built in 1902 as a passenger ship, disguised to resemble a battleship in World War I for decoy purposes, and sunk by a German submarine. Dan Michael discovered that the ship brought his grandfather from Liverpool to the U.S. as he did research for a ghost writer with whom he is collaborating on an autobiography given to him as a 65th birthday present by his son Jeff.


With that discovery, the Michaels abandoned their original name concept (North Shore Residence), switched to The Merion, commissioned a six-foot replica of the ship for the building’s library, and began purchasing postcards and other artifacts from the vessel on eBay to use as appointments in strategic locations throughout the building.


The new name represents the second family connection to the property: Dan Michael and his wife were married in the hotel ballroom more than four decades before.


The building will be officially rechristened The Merion with new signage this summer. Meanwhile, the first phase of the renovation is expected to be complete by May 1 – including the lobby, ballroom, commercial kitchen, communal dining room and 140 remodeled apartments. An eight-story addition with 63 additional apartments will begin as soon as phase one is complete.