Developer scraps plans to buy complex in downtown Towson

`Attractive property' seen as key to revitalization

November 30, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Plans to build a high-rise retirement community on a prime piece of land in downtown Towson were scuttled when the developer recently withdrew its interest in the site.

Erickson Retirement Communities, which operates Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville and Oak Crest Village in Parkville, had a contract to buy the 14-acre triangle that is the site of the Dulaney Valley Apartments complex.

Erickson planned to demolish the 59 two-story stone buildings on the site and replace them with high-rises. The company recently abandoned its plans for the property after deciding to use Oak Crest Village to house senior citizens from the Towson area.

Erickson is the fourth developer to express interest recently in the property at Fairmount Avenue and Dulaney Valley Road. The land is considered key to the revitalization of downtown Towson.

Last year, Fairfield Residential of California had a contract to build a 900-apartment high-rise. That deal fell through this year.

Two other developers have had discussions with County Councilman Wayne M. Skinner about the site.

"It's a great location," said Skinner, a Towson Republican. "It's a beautiful piece of property."

The Dulaney Valley Apartments are owned by the family of John K. Ruff. His daughter, Mary Ellen Ruff Brush, manages the property.

Brush's Towson attorney, Robert A. Hoffman, said the family is interested in selling the property, but not in "unloading it."

This year, Towson Development Corp. listed the redevelopment of the property as critical to its plans to revitalize downtown Towson. Gerald R. Rescigno, the organization's president, expressed disappointment that Erickson is no longer interested in the property.

"The fact that you have Erickson and Fairfield people looking at it shows that it's an attractive property," Rescigno said.

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