Howard builder creates a 'village' from scratch $1 million invested in lush landscaping enhances community

Neighborhood Profile

June 16, 1996|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Take a leisurely drive through Woodland Village in Ellicott City, and you're sure to appreciate the community's name.

From the moment you enter the neighborhood via Old Stockbridge Drive, the village feeling is evident.

Situated on 120 acres of former farmland, the community of 800 townhouses and condominiums is surrounded by lush landscaping -- $1 million worth of landscaping.

When Chateau Builders began developing the concept of Woodland Village, careful consideration was given to the look and feel of the project.

Particular attention was paid to enhancing the natural beauty of the existing land features.

Richard Azrael and Neil Glasser, principals of Chateau Builders, were especially interested in creating a sense of home and JTC community in the Woodland Village project.

"We developed a very unique land plan for this project," said Azrael, whose firm was the ninth most active builder by sales of new homes last year in Howard County.

"We were very aware of trying to create a real village feeling throughout the community."

Indeed, the sense is that of a friendly village as groups of townhouses and condominiums, also referred to as gardenhomes, are tucked cozily among hundreds of trees and bushes.

The landscape plan employed in Woodland Village is so unusual that Chateau Builders won the 1995 Project of the Year award presented by the Land Development Council of the Homebuilders Association of Maryland.

The entire community is swaddled in green, with plantings of red maple, white ash, pin oak, evergreens, flowering bushes and perennials.

With the most recent plants installed in the final phase of the village, the price tag on the landscaping reached $1 million.

Azrael considers it money well spent.

"The investment made in the landscaping in Woodland Village has more than paid off for us as builders and will continue to be an asset to the homeowners here," he said.

The tranquil look of Woodland Village extends to the exterior of the townhouses and gardenhomes.

Homes in the first section of the village are shaded in blues, grays or brown tones and have an almost chalet-like appearance.

The townhouses hug the outside edges of large cul-de-sacs with the condominiums perched in the center.

Since beginning construction in Woodland Village some 10 years ago, Chateau Builders has varied the look of the homes, but has still managed to create a well-blended development where the styles complement.

Homes in the last phase offer half-brick fronts, and half-round and bay windows.

Convenience and amenities

"Young families and professionals find Woodland Village especially appealing," Azrael said.

"They like the convenience of the location and the amenities here."

The Olympic-size pool near the center of the village draws many people on hot summer evenings.

And there are tennis courts, jogging paths and tot lots. Neighborhood gatherings and block parties often use the barbecue area near the pool.

A monthly homeowner's fee covers use of all the recreational facilities, along with maintenance of common areas.

From condo to townhouse

The sense of home and community at Woodland Village has led more than a few Woodland condo owners to purchase a Woodland townhouse when they were ready for more space.

Amy and Paul Ranalli had to look no farther than down the street when they decided to purchase a bigger home.

After living in a Woodland gardenhome for five years, they purchased a townhouse three years ago.

"We really liked the community here and didn't want to leave it just because we wanted a larger home," Amy Ranalli said.

"There are so many nice families here -- we love it."

The neighborhood is "alive with children," she said, so her sons Tyler and Alex have plenty of playmates.

She was also pleased with the architecture.

"The houses all have an open, spacious feel," Amy Ranalli said.

Woodland condos and townhouses offer many features not often found in multifamily housing.

The gardenhomes are constructed with individual outside entrances so there are no shared hallways or stairwells.

"People really like the outside entrances of the condos," Azrael said.

"They feel more like a home and less like an apartment."

The gardenhomes come with a fireplace in the living room, crown molding and a private master bath with garden tub.

Lofts, sun rooms and decks are options.

All Woodland Village townhouses offer three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, full basements with roughed-in plumbing.

Last homes being sold

Options include fireplaces, hardwood floors, window variations and garages with some models.

The sale of new homes in Woodland Village is expected to be complete by year's end.

There are four gardenhomes and 12 townhouses left.

Sales associates at Chateau builders say about 3 percent of the existing homes are up for resale in Woodland Village at any given time.

Woodland Village

Population: 1,800

Commuting time to Baltimore: 20 minutes

Commuting time to Washington: 40 minutes

Public schools: Waterloo Elementary, Mayfield Woods Middle, Howard High

Nearest mall: The Mall in Columbia

ZIP code: 21043

Average price of a home:

$142,990 (townhouse)

$89,990 (condominium)

Pub Date: 6/16/96

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