Moderate-income Housing Focus

Projects In Southeastern Howard County Include Two Mixed-use And One For Seniors

November 25, 2006|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

Three new projects that promise economic progress and more moderate-income housing in southeastern Howard County are moving forward.

Two of the developments, Mission Place and Ashbury Courts, involve the county's new concept for mixed commercial and residential complexes to revitalize U.S. 1, while a third is a residential project for seniors on Gorman Road west of Interstate 95, next to Emerson, the large, upscale General Growth community.

"It's exactly what we've been trying to promote," said County Councilman Guy Guzzone, a North Laurel-Savage Democrat who represents the area. "This is the future of Route 1."

Together, the three represent 617 apartments - of which 149 would be reserved for people earning between $37,200 and $53,100 a year - and 116 townhouses. Maximum rents would be $997 a month, county housing officials said.

Construction is about to start on a fourth project approved earlier, Patuxent Square, with 80 moderate-income apartments over street-level stores on U.S. 1 in Savage.

Two of the communities, Westover Glen on Gorman Road and Mission Place on U.S. 1 at Mission Road, are using a new county law that gives developers more flexibility in building moderate-income housing.

"I think it's giving us a lot of good units quicker," Neil Gaffney, the county's deputy housing director, said about the effect of the new law.

The county's Housing and Community Development Board approved both projects Nov. 9, though officials are still negotiating to add seven more moderate-income units, and some two-bedroom apartments at Westover Glen.

"I'm pleased to see things moving," said Nancy Rhead, a board member. "They've worked very hard to plan for the people who will be there."

The resolutions approved by the board allow Paul Revelle, developer of the 215-unit Westover Glen to move some moderate-income units from other projects in the county and concentrate all 67 subsidized, 750-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments for those ages 62 and older in one of five buildings he plans to construct on the 18.6-acre site.

Leonard Vaughan, the county housing director, said he is negotiating to try to increase the number of subsidized apartments to 74.

The county Housing Commission gets the land free, ownership of the building, which includes a room for general community use, and is guaranteed delivery of the environmentally friendly structure within four years - up to five years before the other buildings are due for completion.

Condominium fees at Westover Glen will be about $50 a month, compared with up to $600 a month for the apartments in the other four buildings, which will be two to three times as large.

"We will build it sooner, give them [the Housing Commission] the land for free and build the building at an agreed-upon price," Revelle said.

Placing all the moderate-income units in one building "allows us to design the building for one customer," Revelle said, instead of the much more difficult and expensive process of trying to put different size units in the same buildings.

At Mission Place, a 16.6-acre site that is a mostly empty one-story warehouse on the west side of the 8100 block of U.S. 1 near the Maryland Wholesale Food Market in Jessup, the county gets 61 moderate-income apartments for families of any age out of 262 apartments and 116 townhouses. The buildings, designed to surround a parking garage to keep it from public view, also will offer free access for residents to a swimming pool, fitness center and clubhouse.

Mission Place will have 25,000 square feet of retail space and 64,000 square feet of office space.

Ashbury Courts is a 140-unit apartment/retail complex under construction on 5.6 acres in the median of U.S. 1 in North Laurel, just north of the Prince George's County line.

The four-story, U-shaped building will have 21 moderate-income units among the apartments over street-level retail stores.

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