Buyer of homes for deaf seniors says he may sell to bidding rival

May 02, 2001|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

The day after a Florida developer bought the remains of the bankrupt Wyndholme Village for deaf seniors at auction, he said he would consider selling it to the deaf businessman he outbid.

Stuart C. "Neil" Fisher bought the 24-acre Southwest Baltimore site for $4.6 million Monday after a bank foreclosed on it because he said he had $2.4 million tied up in the bankrupt project and wanted to protect his investment.

Fisher said yesterday he has talked with Montgomery County businessman James R. Macfadden -- the man he outbid at the auction -- about selling the property to him. Fisher said he envisioned the site being developed as a gated community of townhouses that would accommodate the deaf residents who have paid deposits.

Macfadden said that he has had a serious conversation with Fisher about buying the property, but that the two didn't discuss a price.

If Macfadden buys the property, he said, he will follow a years-long vision of the deaf community and build senior citizen housing where deaf people feel comfortable.

"It all depends on how much he's asking," said Macfadden, who owns a computer company in Silver Spring and lives in Howard County. "At this point, I'm more interested in protecting the idea of Wyndholme Village for senior citizens and trying to keep a deaf-friendly atmosphere alive."

More than two dozen people have each put down $10,000 deposits to move into the community, which was to have 1,200 condominiums on a hill surrounded by a courtyard, bicycle paths, dining rooms, a bank and a grocery store.

Construction never started because the construction loan fell through, and the owner, James M. Lancelotta, filed for bankruptcy protection. The property is the childhood home of Lancelotta, a Howard County developer whose maternal grandparents were deaf.

"Initially, it seemed to be a viable project," Fisher said. "But it was too much and overreaching."

Fisher said he wants to get out of the project and make a profit.

But that worries people like Harry Tremaine, 65, a deaf man who said he has had his "heart set" on moving to a majority-deaf community for four years. Tremaine has put deposits down on three condo units and has given the project $200,000 to help it along.

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