Talks to resume on public housing project for Annapolis waterfront

August 17, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Public housing tenants, officials and a developer will resume meetings next week in an effort to salvage a March agreement to build a new 52-unit housing community along Annapolis waterfront property.

In a letter sent yesterday to city and state officials and tenants, Gov. Parris N. Glendening expressed confidence that changes can be worked out. He reiterated his commitment to see a development "that will serve as a national model for public housing" replace the 61-year-old Bloomsbury Square, one of the country's oldest public housing projects.

The developer, A&R Development Corp. of Baltimore, said that unanticipated expenses are forcing it to cut $1.6 million from the project to stay within the $7.6 million state-funded budget. Last week, residents refused to go along with such proposed cost-saving measures as eliminating hardwood floors and putting siding on the back of what were to be all-brick units.

Under federal law, Bloomsbury Square residents must sign off on any plan to demolish their existing units and construct the New Bloomsbury Square.

It took months to work out the original deal that ended a three-decade stalemate. But less than three months after a groundbreaking ceremony, with Annapolis's mayor and the developer criticizing each other, what started as a partnership is showing signs of stress.

Gene Lynch, deputy chief of Glendening's staff, said he has two goals in working out the changes: The project's quality can't be diminished and the changes cannot violate the spirit of the original agreement.

Bloomsbury Square will be razed for the $30 million expansion of the Lowe House Office Building. The new complex is to be built on a former parking lot along College Creek.

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