Village for the deaf Irvington: Planned senior community of 928 condominium units has supporters, skeptics.

July 11, 1998

IRVINGTON, just 40 blocks west of the Inner Harbor, is a neighborhood of old trees and well-kept front yards that has a small-town feeling, despite the encroachment of crime and grime.

The old Victorian houses along Augusta Avenue retain their storybook charm. Mount St. Joseph High School is another landmark.

Irvington will soon have a new neighbor. A densely forested 34-acre site abutting the Baltimore National Cemetery off the 5200 block of Frederick Road is being cleared for a village for deaf and hard-of-hearing people over age 50. Privately financed plans call for construction of 928 condominiums, a 90-room hotel, a conference center and retail stores.

"I believe we're creating an infrastructure for a society within a society," says Jim Lancelotta, a Howard County developer who will be building the project on a family estate. His motivation is personal: Deafness has affected several members of his family, some of whom are now of retirement age.

The Wyndholme Village concept has many supporters. Skeptics wonder whether enough aging deaf and hard-of-hearing people can afford the prices of Wyndholme condominiums, which are expected to range from $105,573 for a one-bedroom unit to $217,437 for the top-of-the-line two-bedroom model.

Wyndholme is the most ambitious privately backed residential project in Baltimore City in years. Because of its proximity to Woodlawn's Social Security Administration, a leading employer of the deaf, and to Washington's Gallaudet University, it should have a good chance of success.

Pub Date: 7/11/98

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