The Winthrop

An artist rendering of The Winthrop, one of two luxury apartment buildings planned for Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. (Tarek Farid / February 13, 2013)

Development began late last month on the luxury apartment buildings that will replace the Dulaney Valley Apartments in Towson, with leasing for the first of two four-story buildings scheduled to begin next May.

Passers-by this week have seen the last phase of demolition of the existing site, which consisted of 150 apartments at 944 Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. The first building — which will be known as The Winthrop — will be developed by Chesapeake Realty Partners and Wood Partners, and will contain 295 units, according to the developers.

Construction of the second building, which will have 175 units and be developed by Wood Partners and the Taylor Property Group, will begin after the first building is completed. The developers said in a statement that the communities would operate separately, but boast complementary designs.

In a statement announcing the beginning of construction, the developers praised Towson for its vibrancy and the diversity of offerings it boasts.

"We like Baltimore County for a number of reasons," Scott Zimmerly, director of Wood Partners' Mid-Atlantic Region, said in a statement. "Overall, it's just a great place to live with lots of jobs. This site is right off the Beltway, Interstate 695 and it's only 15 minutes from Baltimore City. It's also very close to several colleges and to Towson Town Center, the premier shopping destination in the metro area."

During a hearing before Baltimore County's Design Review Panel in March, the developers explained that the two buildings that will replace the old apartments were part of a four-building plan known as The Quarters. Two buildings from that project, located between Fairmount Avenue, Dulaney Valley Road and Southerly Road, have already been built.

Following the purchase of the old apartments, which was announced last November, Chesapeake Realty Partners President Jonathan Mayers said at the review hearing that he and his partners had taken the old plans and modernized them.

The buildings will feature Residents' Clubs, swimming pools, fitness centers and game rooms, according to the announcement. The developers said before the Design Review Panel in March that the interior parking structures would hold 550 spaces for the larger building and 365 for the smaller.

At the Design Review Panel meeting earlier this year, members of the nine-person panel and residents alike both stressed that they hoped the project would be more successful and more aesthetically pleasing than The Quarters, which some have found to be boxy and uninteresting looking.

Paul Hartman, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, said that the developers had not reached out to him since before the Design Review Panel meeting, but that the community was largely in support of the project.

"It looks really nice," he said. "I don't have any complaints."

Vanessa Showalter, a spokeswoman for the developers, said the project's designers met last week with the surrounding residents, and would bring its final plans before the community and county before they were implemented.

Councilman David Marks, who represents the 5th District including Towson, said his office "insisted on outreach to the surrounding neighborhoods, and I think the developer has done that.

"I think the project will be a step up from The Quarters, and I think the Design Review Panel really insisted on some better architectural guidelines," Marks said.

Hartman agreed.

"They seem to have covered a lot of ideas, as far as making it a walkable place, putting in Zipcars and a bicycle room. And it's going to look really nice. It's going to blow the thing next door to it out of the water."

"Our target renter will choose between living in Towson and downtown Baltimore, and these communities will give them every reason to choose Towson," Lawrence M. Macks, co-chairman of Chesapeake Realty Partners, said in a statement.