Pikesville getting low-rent apartments for elderly Weinberg House tab about $250 a month BALTIMORE COUNTY

September 24, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

In yesterday's editions of The Sun and some editions of The Evening Sun, the first name of Harry Weinberg, the late Baltimore real estate developer and philanthropist, was reported incorrectly.

The Sun regrets the errors.

With one of the highest concentrations of senior citizens in Baltimore County, the Pikesville area is getting its first apartment building for low-income elderly people.

Ground will be broken Monday for Weinberg House, a seven-floor, 116-unit building named for Henry and Jeanette Weinberg, whose private foundation contributed $500,000 as the sponsor's equity in the joint public-private development.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Weinberg House is one of several projects undertaken over the last two years to meet what Frank W. Welsh, the county's community development director, said is an increasing need for affordable senior housing.

There are at least 15,000 low-income senior citizens across the county, Mr. Welsh said. Many are widows who, after paying rent of up to $500 a month, have only $80 to $90 for food and medicine.

With 25 percent of its residents 65 or older, the Pikesville area has one of the county's heaviest concentrations of senior citizens, Mr. Welsh said.

Rent at Weinberg House will be about $250 a month. "This will leave them with more money to live on. It's a long-term investment, to keep them out of nursing homes, where it costs the government a fortune to keep them," Mr. Welsh said.

Under federal regulations, senior citizens with income below $22,000 will be eligible for apartments at the building, located on a 1.3-acre site at Towne Centre Place and (Old) Old Court Road.

Although it was sponsored by the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the apartment building will be nondenominational. The developer is Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI), the Associated's community development arm.

The acronym CHAI is also the Hebrew word for "life."

Darrell Friedman, president of the Associated, said the Weinberg Foundation has a commitment to help the elderly and was an eager partner.

In addition, Mr. Friedman said, the project "meets the highest Jewish ideal of community, caring and compassion."

He said he hopes to see more such projects in the northwest corridor.

Bernard Siegel, president of the Weinberg Foundation, said the Weinbergs had a deep commitment to alleviate "the plight of the elderly."

The late Harry Weinberg, a real estate billionaire with large holdings in Baltimore and in Hawaii, left his fortune to charity when he died in 1990.

The foundation that bears his name gave away $31 million in fiscal 1993.

The foundation's contribution permitted the developers of Weinberg House to add amenities to the apartments that would not be covered by federal funding "and change existence into living," Mr. Siegel said. He said the foundation would look favorably on similar projects in the future.

Primary funding is $7.4 million from the elderly-housing program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Baltimore County contributed $525,000 from the Community Development Block Grant fund, primarily for land acquisition, and the state is giving $8,500 from its program for housing the elderly.

County Councilman Melvin G. Mintz, who represents Pikesville, said Weinberg House not only will provide affordable housing, but also more than 100 new residents to boost the economic revitalization of central Pikesville.

The 2nd District Democrat Mr. Mintz said many of his constituents, aware of the success of nearby Har Sinai House, just over city line, have been pressing him to help provide housing for the elderly in Pikesville.

Construction of a two-block street called Towne Centre Place, between Old Court Road and Walker Avenue, has opened "a critical piece of Pikesville" to development.

Besides Weinberg house, the area has a small new shopping area, and a two-acre plot is awaiting development, he said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday. Construction is expected to take a year, with the first oc0cupants to move in in October 1994.

Mr. Welsh said there are seven other housing projects for the elderly either in use or in progress around the county.

Some are sponsored by religious and charitable organizations, others by private developers.

The 153-unit Golden Ring Apartments in Golden Ring and St. Luke's Place in Edgemere, with 125 apartments, are expected to open by the end of the year.

Excavation has begun on the Park-Chesaco Apartments, with 106 units in Rosedale, and the Liberty House in Randallstown, also with 106 apartments, is on the drawing board, Mr. Welsh said.

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