A Lutheran-based group broke ground last week on a $140 million retirement community to be built off of Frederick Road in Ellicott City.
The project, called Lutheran Village at Miller's Grant, lists 276 residences and other community amenities on 50 acres of former farm land next to the Charles E. Miller Branch of the Howard County Public Library System. The first phase of the project, which includes building 241 residences, a community center, a fitness center and an on-site medical center, is expected to be complete in 18-to-24 months.
The developer is Carroll Lutheran Village, a Westminster-based retirement community built in 1980. Since Carroll Lutheran Village's incorporation, the group has grown into a company with $115 million in assets.
The 241 residences in the first phase will be a mix of apartments, single-family homes and duplexes. The second phase will add 35 apartments, a swimming pool and a chapel. Residents need to be age 60 or older and are not required to keep the Lutheran faith.
The project is nearly 10 years in the making, according to officials from Carroll Lutheran Village.
“It's been a long time coming,” said Geary K. Milliken, president and CEO of Carroll Lutheran Village.
Milliken said the project as “more than just a residential development,” and that it’s primary goal is “enrich lives.”
“This is a center for care and support that will benefit our neighbors and friends in this community for years to come,” he said.
In 2005, the Miller family, who also donated land to the county for the new library near the site, donated 50 acres of their property, along with $1 million, to Carroll Lutheran Village to build a retirement community in the area.
Since then, the project has worked its way through a lengthy development process, which required rezoning the property, receiving state and county approval and a feasibility study.
The project also was delayed by the recession, according to Lisa Albin, director of public relations for Carroll Lutheran Village.
Despite the delays, the project has already received commitments for more than 180 units. Among the commitments is 79-year-old Norma Walgrove, who has lived in nearby Columbia for 30 years. Walgrove said she and her husband, George, committed to the project in 2008, and that it perfectly fit their needs.
“Here was a chance to live in a small community, to stay near our dear church family, remain close to our friends, be near all the activities we love, have ready access to the outdoors, and also to receive health care when and if we need it,” she said. “All those reasons were just starters.”
Walgrove echoed Milliken that the project has been many years in the making, but said she thinks it’s worth it.
“We were among the initial group of depositors, and by the grace of God, we are still here,” she said inciting a chuckle from the crowd. “We wondered, like many of you, if this cornfield was ever going to become a real field of dreams. But now it’s looking more and more likely.”
County Council member Courtney Watson, whose represents Ellicott City, said the community will become the first of its kind in Ellicott City.
“We are very, very happy with this project in Howard County,” Watson said. “It will bring so much needed community, needed respite care and needed adult living in Ellicott City.”
During her remarks, Watson cited recent date from the 2010 Census, which revealed that 34 percent of county residents qualified for age-restricted housing, which is 55-years-old and up.
“That’s a very large segment of our population,” she said.
Linda Chinnia, assistant to Bishop Rev. Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, said the project is an expansion of the partnership between the group and Carroll Lutheran Village.
“The entire Synod is happy and thankful to see this entire dream become closer to reality,” she said.