Developing White Marsh

January 31, 1993|By Audrey Haar | Audrey Haar,Staff Writer

Speeding down I-95, the most noticeable feature of White Marsh is the sprawling White Marsh Mall and the surrounding office buildings.

But just behind the stores and offices, the White Marsh home market is growing steadily.

The largest White Marsh community now under development is the 75-acre Southfield, with condominiums, town houses and apartments. The 5-acre Brantwood is nearly sold out of its 40 town houses; the 17-acre Tremper Farms has grown to 70 town houses in less than two years; and, on the east side of I-95, groundbreaking is planned for the first of 298 town houses in the 50-acre Castlestone project.

While most residential construction in White Marsh is on land owned by the Towson-based Nottingham properties, Tremper Farms was developed by Gilligan Development Inc. based in Severna Park, and several other smaller, scattered developments are planned.


Ryland Homes and Ryan Homes, primary builders for the Nottingham Properties, both recently completed groups of town houses in Southfield, and Ryland is currently selling garden condominiums for about $84,000. The Ryland garden condos range in size from 990 to 1,090 square feet. To date, 60 of 144 units have sold.

Next on the drawing board for Southfield are so-called "back-to-b ack" condominiums, to be built by the Ryland Homes Baltimore Division based in Lutherville. The first group of 84 units are scheduled to go on sale in March.

Built in blocks of eight to 16 units, the 20-by-18-foot back-to-back homes will share common walls on the sides and rear with the neighboring homes. Except for the end units, the homes will be designed so that all living spaces will be in the front of the house, so each room will have a window.

Construction also continues at Tremper Farms, where the first 70 of 112 town houses are up. Prices for the 1,400-square-foot homes have average selling prices of about $119,000.

In the first building phase of the Castlestone development, Ryland is building 60 town houses. The 1,320-square-foot homes will have two or three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. Base prices will be $105,000, and Ryland estimates that most homes will have an average selling price of $107,000.

Ryan Homes is building 59 town houses in Castlestone that will range in price from $94,000 to $100,000 for 1,060- to 1,200-square foot homes. By the end of March, Ryan plans to open a model home in Castlestone.

First-time home buyers

The builders remain optimistic about the future of White Marsh, but they continue to focus on developing homes for the entry-level town house and condominium market.

Sales reports through the first three quarters of 1992 show that new-home sales are doing well in the area, but that is compared to 1991, which was a low-water mark for home sales regionally. New-home sales in the Perry Hall/White Marsh Regional Planning District were up 42 percent in the third quarter of 1992, compared to the prior quarter, according to figures compiled by Legg Mason Realty Group.

Legg Mason also calculates that the district was up 16 percent for the first three quarters of 1992, compared to the same period of 1991.

About three-quarters of the White Marsh development area is on land owned by Nottingham Properties in Towson. The land was acquired in the 1940s for sand and gravel mining, which is in the final operating stages.

Over the next 10 to 20 years Nottingham will be building the infrastructure to support more development in the area. And by 1994, the company plans to start another phase of building in White Marsh.

While Nottingham also developed the White Marsh office buildings and worked with the Rouse Co. of Columbia on the development of White Marsh Mall, the home market has been a "solid performer" for the company while the business park has taken longer to develop, said Bruce Campbell III, senior vice presidentand director of land development for Nottingham Properties.

Mr. Campbell said Nottingham is concentrating on the home market it defines as entry-level with townhouses priced at $100,000 to $115,000, and condominiums priced below $100,000.


Mrs. McMann of the Perry Hall Improvement Association said older area residents are disappointed to see predominantly high-density housing, such as apartments, condominiums and town houses take over communities that have traditionally had single-family homes.

She said the community is afraid that the new entry-level housing will attract transient, move-up home buyers who will only stay in WhiteMarsh for a few years.

"It's always been a steady neighborhood," Mrs. McMann said. "This was the place where people came to stay."

Even though office buildings have been sprouting over the past few years in White Marsh, builders report that most of their home buyers are employed in Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Towson. And most homes were sold to buyers who were already living in the area, and are now settling into their first house.

Route 43

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