Bloomsbury Square set to begin construction

52 units on College Creek to replace public housing in 61-year-old community

March 27, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Construction of the waterfront Bloomsbury Square public housing development in Annapolis is set to begin in mid-May, now that officials and community representatives have agreed on the final design plan.

The $7.6 million development of 52 all-brick townhouses and apartments along College Creek will replace the 61-year-old Bloomsbury Square neighborhood, which will be demolished to accommodate a $30 million expansion of the House Office Building.

"I think this is an award-winning project," said Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, whose staff helped to redesign the plan to meet historic district and environmental standards.

State to pay for moving

Officials from the Annapolis Housing Authority, the state and the city signed off March 14 on the design plan by developer A&R Development Corp. of Baltimore. Bloomsbury Square residents, who will be relocated at state expense, expressed their approval of the plan in a meeting Monday night.

"It's a win-win situation," said Howard S. Pinskey, chairman of Housing Authority's board of commissioners. The state is footing the entire bill for the project and will turn it over to the Housing Authority upon completion.

The new Bloomsbury Square will be built on what is now state parking lot D at Bladen Street and College Creek. The new neighborhood, which will be triangular in shape, will replace the existing 51-unit community, which is one of the oldest public housing neighborhoods in the country.

The townhouses will have staggered facades in four shades of brick, some with imitation wood shutters. Plans also call for brick sidewalks, granite curbs and narrow, one-way, tree-lined streets with parking.

The one- to three-bedroom units, most with a view of the water, will be 20 percent to 50 percent larger than the old Bloomsbury units, ranging from 770 square feet to 1,450 square feet. Fourteen units will be handicapped-accessible. Six one-bedroom apartments for the disabled will be clustered in a three-story building with an elevator.

Most of the units will have hardwood floors; second-floor apartments will be carpeted and have cathedral ceilings. The units will have air conditioning, garbage disposals and washer and dryers, but no dishwashers or microwaves. Individual yards will be partially fenced off, and each unit will have a brick storage shed.

A community building

The plan also calls for a community building with meeting space, management offices, a computer room and a game area.

Rents, which are based on residents' incomes, will not change.

Construction of the first phase is expected to be completed by December. The final phase should be finished six to eight weeks later, said Anthony T. Rodgers, development manager with A&R Development Corp.

Construction of the expanded House building is slated to begin in January and is expected to take 2 1/2 years.

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