Loyola drops plan to purchase Roland Park apartment building

College backs off in face of pressure from residents

May 23, 2000|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Surrendering to a campaign of community pressure, Loyola College decided yesterday not to buy the Park Lynn Apartments in Roland Park, college officials said.

In a statement, college officials noted "community concerns and the uncertain investment value" as the reasons for calling off the deal, which would have provided Loyola with 52 apartments almost two miles from the North Charles Street campus.

"Institutions are becoming more sensitive to community concerns," said Terence M. Sawyer, special assistant to the Loyola president.

The college submitted a contract to the owner for the purchase of the apartments on Upland Road with the intention of using them for faculty housing. The units are occupied mostly by young families and elderly people.

"With all the emotions, there was a fear of exodus," Sawyer said. The college had said that the occupants could stay as long as they pleased.

Despite Loyola's assurancethat the purchase was aimed at providing faculty housing, residents expressed fears of underage drinking by students, denouncing the plan as "institutional encroachment." They also said they wanted to preserve the property for the community's use.

Last week, about 250 residents gathered at St. David's Episcopal Church on Roland Avenue for a Roland Park Civic League meeting to air their objections. In the past week, small red signs reading "Stop Loyola" sprouted in the neighborhood, on poles, trees and in yards.

David R. Blumberg, head of the Civic League's committee on the sale, said yesterday he was glad to hear that Loyola was "respecting our boundaries."

Helping in the residents' efforts were four legislators from the 42nd District, Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, Del. James W. Campbell, Del. Maggie L. McIntosh and Del. Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, all Democrats. They met with Sawyer and Civic League officials Friday.

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