New Towson apartments will be close to everything

Rents to start at $800 at Dulaney Crescent

April 28, 2001|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

A developer is to break ground Tuesday on an apartment complex in downtown Towson that Baltimore County officials hope will demonstrate to other builders that suburbanites are interested in the urban idea of living close to work, shops and entertainment.

Residents of the $20 million, 264-unit Dulaney Crescent apartment building will be able to walk to the Super Fresh without crossing a major street. They'll be closer to the Hecht's in Towson Town mall than Hecht's is to Nordstrom. Based on the surrounding traffic patterns, it will be more trouble to drive to the barber shop and dry cleaners than to walk.

As sprawl has become a dirty word in recent years, the idea of creating compact communities that unify living, working and playing has become the urban planning vogue, in contrast to much post-World War II development that segregated houses from offices from shops.

"I think [the apartments are] a great boost for us," said Wayne M. Skinner, the county councilman who represents the area and helped extend tax breaks to the project. "If we get people living here, it's going to help the businesses that are here, plus it's going to make Towson more thriving."

This project and others in the works, such as the development of an urban center around the Owings Mills metro stop and the redevelopment of the Riverdale area on the east side, will be the "proof in the pudding" that these integrated communities can work, said Planning Director Arnold F. Keller III.

"From the bricks and mortar of the site plan to the concept, it's really fantastic," Keller said.

Dulaney Crescent apartments, in contrast to the Owings Mills and Riverdale projects, was the idea of a private developer, not the county government.

Todd A. Tilson, one of the principals of the project's development firm, Consolidated Equities Corp. of Lutherville, said he has gotten "quite a large number of inquiries" already from people interested in the apartments, which won't be ready until the summer of 2002.

Demand should be strong because there has been so much construction of commercial space and so few new apartments in Towson, Tilson said.

According to statistics from the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, Towson has gained more than 900,000 square feet of commercial, office, industrial and other nonresidential buildings since 1991. In that time, its stock of apartments has increased by 253.

Dulaney Crescent's one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will feature 9-foot ceilings and large kitchens and baths and will rent for between $800 and $1,400 a month. The complex will feature a central parking garage, two courtyards, a 4,000-square-foot business center and clubhouse and a 2,000-square-foot fitness center.

Tilson said he and his partner, Robert B. Becker, have built apartment complexes all over the Baltimore and Washington area, but never an in-fill project like this one. The process of redevelopment, which involved knocking down the 60 older apartments previously on the site, was not overly onerous, he said.

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