Renewed interest in Coldspring New homes spark buyers' inquiries in original community

Neighborhood Profile

April 07, 1996|By Rosalia Scalia | Rosalia Scalia,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, but still well within city limits, Coldspring New Town is a community that's easy to miss.

An urban experiment abandoned when federal money fell away, the 18-year-old townhouse condominium community is undergoing a renaissance.

Phase II is finally under way with the construction of single-family homes in the "Woodlands at Coldspring," a suburban-like development literally across the street from the townhouse condos.

While the newly developed section -- being built by Ryland Homes and Struever Brothers, Eccles & Rouse -- prompted a controversy when it was challenged by the members of the Cylburn Arboretum Association, many residents looked toward the renaissance with anticipation.

According to Mel Knight, a Realtor with W.H.C Wilson, the homes in the Woodlands are selling quickly. "As soon as they are standing, people are moving into them," he said.

Furthermore, the new section is sparking renewed interest in the older section, especially among people who hadn't known about it, Mr. Knight said.

"Origi- nally, this entire area was supposed to be a village sufficient unto itself with shopping, health care, recreation and everything," Mr. Knight said.

"The Woodlands development -- or a development with single-family homes -- was actually planned 20 years ago. This whole area was originally supposed to be a mixed-use community, a Cross Keys without the pretense."

The renaissance is not restricted to residential development. The Waldorf School -- a private school that operates in a building at Coldspring -- in conjunction with developer Jack Ryan, plans to develop what is affectionately referred to in the community as "The Pad" into a larger structure and campus for the school as well as high-rise housing for the elderly.

"The Pad" is the foundation and first levels of a 200-car garage that was abandoned 20 years ago. According to Dan Goldstein, a member of the school's board of directors, the idea behind the development of the school campus is to create spaces that can be used by both the school and the community.

"For instance, the theater in the school can be a place where community theater can take place. We are hoping that the school library, which will be maintained by the school, can be a satellite for the Enoch Pratt that community members will also be able to use, and of course, the classrooms will lend themselves to continuing adult education," he said.

Completion for the project is scheduled for September 1997, according to Mr. Goldstein.

Bounded by the Cylburn Arboretum on the north and east, there are tracts of land that serve as buffers between the development and Greenspring Avenue on the west and Cold Spring Lane to the south.

The dwellings, many built over parking garages, are linked by a series of pedestrian walkways. Each group of 20 to 30 houses -- representing about 17 floor plans -- is connected by ramps and bridges, creating a separation between vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

"You can walk from end to end of the entire development without vTC seeing a car," said Hilda Ford, an 18-year resident of Coldspring.

Designed by Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie, the development is noted for its unique architecture.

On one side are two-story townhouses with entrances from the main walkway, or deck, and from the parking garage. On the other side are "maisonette" units in piggyback configuration, also with entrances on the deck level. The lower homes have a parking level entrance. Two-thirds of the houses have gardens and the highest units have large roof terraces.

The development also boasts extensive open space with trees and greenery. Also, there are playground areas for small children. Benches and large flower boxes are placed along the walkways.

"The original idea was to create a considerable amount of density in terms of the number of living units, but also a great expanse of open space," said Diane Frederick, community manager of the Coldspring Community Association.

Moreover, regardless of position, each townhouse includes numerous transom-like windows in odd places that enables light to stream inside.

"This house is very bright and very sunny," said Rosalind Holloway, who found the community through a friend several years ago. "When I saw the place, I knew I wanted to move in. I just love it here," she added.

In keeping with its original plans, the community also includes recreational facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts and a health care center -- the Ruscombe Mansion.

The neighborhood has streets and courts mostly named for spices: Nutmeg Terrace, Bay Leaf Court, Deerfern Crescent and Foxbane Square.

About 10 minutes from downtown, the community attracts homebuyers who tend to be professional, very busy and do not want to be shackled by high home maintenance, Mr. Knight said.

According to John Grupenhoff of Long and Foster, the average price for a two-bedroom home is about $67,000, while a three-bedroom typically sells for about $75,875.

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