Hearing to focus on plans for 185-unit development

September 26, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

The Annapolis City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on plans to build a 185-unit townhouse development on 18 acres off Bywater Road that was to have been the site of Oxford Mews.

That project fell victim to the savings and loan crisis and has left the city holding a $145,000 note that may not be repaid.

Atwater Development Co. of Annapolis has a contract to purchase the site from the Resolution Trust Corp., which acquired the property when federal regulators seized the Second National Federal Savings Bank and its assets in 1992. The thrift held the mortgage on the property.

The new developer has revised the project and renamed it Annapolis Walk, but has agreed to fulfill the promise of the previous developer to set aside three acres for a public park.

Prices of the townhouses would range from $89,000 to $119,000. Larry White, president of Atwater Development, said a number of financing programs would be available to help low-income buyers. Families with annual incomes as low as $25,000 could qualify to buy homes, he said. There would be no limit on the maximum income for buyers.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Democrat representing the area where the project would be built, said the donation of the park would be one of its biggest benefits.

"That's the jewel of the whole thing," he said.

Mr. White estimated that he would spend $300,000 to build a community center, playgrounds, basketball courts and a ball field, then deed the park to the city.

While the city would gain a new recreation facility, it may lose the money it had lent to the previous developers.

Developer Robert Gaines and businessman Dallas Evans were planning to use profits from Oxford Mews to repay the city more than $145,000 they had borrowed to cover cost overruns at another project.

The city promised to lend them up to $156,000 to help complete a low-cost townhouse project that was built by South County Residential Partnership, an arm of the Community Action Agency. The city actually paid out about $145,000.

The developers told the city in March that they wanted to buy back the Oxford Mews site from the Resolution Trust Corp. and proceed with the project. But Mr. Evans said the Resolution Trust Corp. rejected their offer and accepted the bid by Atwater Development instead.

"It leaves the city loan up in the air," said Mr. Snowden, who heads the City Council's finance committee.

B6 "I guess it now won't get repaid," Mr. Evans said.

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