Luxury homes planned for lot near golf course Rouse Co. project to go before board WEST COLUMBIA

September 15, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Rouse Co. is planning Columbia's most upscale housing project ever, a development of 30 custom-built luxury homes costing from $500,000 to $1 million or more in Harper's Choice village.

The Estates at Forest Glen is planned for a 61-acre wooded parcel sandwiched between the Hobbit's Glen Golf Course and the 1,100-acre Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, south of Route 108, about a half-mile west of Harper's Farm Road. Lot sizes will range from about 1.25 acres to three acres, said Alton J. Scavo, vice president of the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer.

"This is a little unique for us. We don't do these every year," said Mr. Scavo, who is the Rouse Co.'s general manager of Columbia. "Clearly for Columbia, these are very large lots."

The Howard County Planning Board will consider the project at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Ellicott Room of the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. The Rouse Co. has requested that the land be designated for 54 acres of low-density residential development and seven acres of open space.

Mr. Scavo said the Rouse Co. hopes the project will appeal to people in Columbia who have "become very successful" and wish to move into a more exclusive development without leaving the city. Views of the golf course and the Middle Patuxent River valley and woods, and the opportunity to build private pools, tennis courts or other amenities will be attractions, Mr. Scavo said.

"It's a very attractive setting," he said. "It's a long, thin piece of land between two wonderful amenities. Given that, and given there is a market for upscale homes in Howard County and Columbia, this is the time and place to do [the project]."

Developers and Realtors discovered that a market niche exists for luxury homes on large lots in Columbia after observing that some recently built upscale homes surrounding the Hobbit's Glen Golf Course on one-quarter- to one-third-acre lots lack privacy and space for swimming pools, said Ken Steil, president-elect of the Howard County Association of Realtors.

"Let's face it, the 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' lends itself to that," he said.

"There's prestige from being in a recognized community with geographic boundaries," such as the Farside, The Chase, Hedgerow and Waterford developments in more rural areas of the county, he said. "That's going to be true with Forest Glen. It's going to be Columbia, but it's not."

But upscale buyers aren't willing to pay as much for luxury homes as a few years ago, Mr. Steil added.

Columbia's villages are characterized by a mix of housing types -- single-family homes, townhouses and apartments -- and relatively small lots. The 10th and final Columbia village, River Hill, which is being developed just west of the environmental area, will offer mostly single-family detached homes ranging from about $150,000 to $450,000.

Forest Glen, which will have public water and sewer service, would nearly complete Harper's Choice, except for a few scattered lots, Mr. Scavo said. If planning approvals aren't delayed, Mr. Scavo said he expects construction to begin next spring.

The community would be built by one builder -- the Herbert J. Siegel Organization of Owings Mills -- rather than by several builders, which is the norm for Rouse Co. projects in Columbia. The Rouse Co. provides infrastructure for the lots, then sells them to builders.

Peter Weickgenannt, chairman of the Harper's Choice village board, said the Rouse Co. hasn't presented plans for Forest Glen to the board.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.