Edgewood Teardown

Old Army Buildings To Be Replaced By New Housing

August 19, 2009|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

Harford County officials will gather in Edgewood on Thursday for a groundbreaking, an event they could more accurately call a ground-shaking.

Washington Court, whose 51 boarded-up brick buildings date to the 1940s and once housed Army officers, will be razed to make way for a residential complex that should prove attractive to the influx of new residents arriving as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.

"Thousands of new jobs are coming to Edgewood with BRAC and it's changing the real estate market here for the better," said Harford Councilman Dion Guthrie, who represents the area. "Talk about convenience. This development will have something for everyone."

The 26-acre site will be reborn as a 288-unit housing complex with a community green and clubhouse, gazebo, fountain, ballfield and walking paths.

"We are actually kicking off the demolition phase at Washington Court," said Suzanne Streeter, grants administrator with the county's department of community services. "Our goal is to get this site clean and green until the developer starts building."

Demolition for the $50 million redevelopment project will take about four months and rid the area of what many residents considered a modern-day ghost town. Vacant for more than 15 years, the buildings had become defaced with graffiti, beset by arsonists and used as a haven by the homeless.

Razing the buildings will cost about $2 million, much of which came from federal and state grants.

The Shelter Group, a Baltimore city-based developer whose proposal was chosen from among several submitted to the county, has unveiled plans for a four-story building with 100 apartments for seniors, as well as 44 single-family dwellings and 144 town houses.

"We are looking to move forward as soon as we can, but we have to assess what is happening in the housing and financial markets," said Jeffrey K. Hettleman, executive vice president of the Shelter Group, which has built several senior communities in Harford.

The county acquired the property, located on Cedar Drive near Edgewood Elementary School, for $982,000 nearly 10 years ago from the federal government. The county has received nearly $6 million in federal and state grants to assist with the project.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the site.

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