Developer poised to submit plan

Company to request approval for downtown housing complex

March 17, 2000|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

After months of work sessions and community meetings, a Virginia-based developer proposing to build a residential community in downtown Annapolis is poised to submit a formal plan to the city -- and eager to break ground on the much-anticipated project in the historic district.

Madison Homes Inc. of McLean, Va., plans to apply by next month for the necessary special exception approval for a planned development, said Russell S. Rosenberger, the company's president. The company, which created Old Town Alexandria, Va., wants to build 139 condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes at the Anne Arundel Medical Center site.

The hospital is relocating to Parole in a move that will be completed in the fall of 2001.

"I wish I could get started tomorrow," Rosenberger said yesterday at a discussion by the Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association. "It's an exciting opportunity for the city of Annapolis."

The talk was the third in a series on projects and issues in Annapolis. The association, a nonprofit organization, was created in 1992 to improve transportation in the Annapolis area by bringing together the public and private sectors, said Karen Taylor, program coordinator.

The group is made up of 50 members, representing nearly 18,000 employees. About 20 people attended yesterday's gathering to hear the update on the project and see how it would affect traffic.

Rosenberger said Madison Homes representatives have been working with the city's Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission and Board of Appeals since acquiring the site in September. The needed approvals could be obtained by the end of this year or early next year, and demolition and construction could begin when the hospital moves out. Construction should take about 2 1/2 years, he said.

Rosenberger said the community will be "vehicular- and pedestrian-friendly." The planned development will have two parking spaces for every housing unit, wider alleys for emergency vehicles and half the amount of traffic generated by the hospital, Rosenberger said.

Called the Villages at Annapolis, the development will have homes ranging from $250,000 to $650,000. Developers have worked with the community to incorporate the style of many downtown homes, such as front porches on some houses.

"I think we're now presenting architectural elevations that truly reflect the style of this neighborhood," Rosenberger said.

Other changes include creating a public park at Shaw and Charles streets, near the waterfront, and converting the general hospital building, built in 1912, into residential condominiums. Shaw Street will be rerouted to connect with Charles Street.

No plans are being made to keep the 330-space parking garage, though some in the business community have said it could provide some parking relief.

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