Demolition ceremony starts work on revamped east Columbia community

First building to be ready early next year in mixed-income development

May 05, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

Twenty-nine year old Lauran Miller was happy to see a well-dressed crowd gather Wednesday to ceremonially begin demolition at east Columbia's Guilford Gardens, a three-decade old, 100-unit public housing community where she lives with her husband and two children.

"I think I'm pretty excited. This is a big change," the six-year resident said about the $43 million redevelopment that will offer 269 mixed income units with rents ranging from $360 to $1,700 a month.

Howard County executive Ken Ulman renamed the community Monarch Mills, and the first new units should be ready by early next year, according to officials of Shelter Development. The 116 reduced rent units will be mixed in three- and four-story buildings with 153 market rate units.

"We want everyone to come and look at the new Monarch Mills and say 'this is an incredible community,'" Ulman said, equipped with the latest environmental features and loads of amenities, along with high quality finishes. The Guilford project is the first of several planned projects to transform Howard's public housing to mixed-income, mixed-age and amenity-rich rental communities. Ulman mounted a large backhoe and ripped through a porch roof in one of 19 vacant units to cheers from officials and residents.

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