A lender has taken control of one of Maryland's most talked about planned communities, the Kentlands project in Gaithersburg, away from its developer.
In July, Chevy Chase Federal Savings accepted a deed to the 351-acre property in lieu of foreclosure against the developer, Joseph Alfandre & Co.
Kentlands has been lauded by architects and urban planners because its design harks back to 19th-century communities in ++ which homes in different price ranges were built close together, and all of them were close to a town center for the convenience of residents.
The developer had hoped that the residents of Kentlands could conduct most of their day-to-day activities without using their cars.
The project was a reaction against the blandness and sprawl of the suburban development of recent decades, which Mr. Alfandre and his architects had criticized as too automobile-dependent.
Chevy Chase President Alexander Boyle said that despite the thrift's takeover, which was not announced publicly when it occurred three months ago, the 1,400-home project will go forward. Mr. Alfandre will be a consultant, and his company will build some of the houses, Mr. Boyle said.
"It shouldn't make any difference," he said.
Chevy Chase Senior Vice President Guy Campbell said that the thrift has resumed work on such facilities as roads that had been stalled because of the project's cash flow problems.
Mr. Boyle said that Chevy Chase would like to sell the project to another developer.
"We want to energize the project and have it fulfill its objectives, but we don't want to be long-term players in any project," Mr. Boyle explained.
Mr. Campbell said that much of the land is under contract for sale to homebuilders, who typically take over a project after a developer has built streets and sewers. The builders finish the job by constructing and selling the houses.
Neither of the bankers would say how much Mr. Alfandre and his company owed on the land, but they said a published report that put the figure at up to $64 million was too high.
Mr. Alfandre couldn't be reached yesterday.