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Redevelopment proposal submitted for former Presbyterian Home in Towson

Rendering of the proposed Bosley Estates on the former site of the Presbyterian Home of Maryland.
Rendering of the proposed Bosley Estates on the former site of the Presbyterian Home of Maryland. (Cho Benn Holback & Associates)

Developers of a project on the former site of the Presbyterian Home of Maryland are seeking to build up to 45 condominium units, saying the plan will preserve the Towson property's front yard as green space.

An application submitted Friday to Baltimore County for the site known as the Bosley Mansion calls for keeping the original mansion and many of its additions, plus adding two new residential buildings and several small additions.

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The Presbyterian Home of Maryland closed a nursing facility at the site last year.

The property at 400 Georgia Court in West Towson's Southland Hills is being redeveloped by Marty Azola of Azola Companies and Delbert Adams of Delbert Adams Construction Group under the name Bosley Estates LLC.

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"The partners' vision for the property is to transform the [home] into a unique upscale residential condominium building while still preserving the Bosley Mansion, preserving the front yard green space, and enhancing the overall ambiance of the property," attorney Edward Gilliss wrote in an application to County Councilman David Marks.

Towson-based developer Caves Valley Partners has canceled a contract to purchase the Presbyterian Home of Maryland building on Georgia Court, in Towson, according to Baltimore County Councilman David Marks.

A previous plan for the site had drawn outcry from neighbors. Caves Valley Partners made an offer to buy the property and planned to rent it to the county government for office space. In January, the Towson-based developer announced it was abandoning those plans.

Marks said there is community support for the new plan. This proposal "avoids commercial usage, which was a major concern for the community," said Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson.

Azola called the site "a wonderful opportunity for historic preservation." The mansion was the mid-1800s home of early Towson's prominent Bosley family.

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"It's really unique to have 4.5 acres in the heart of Towson," he said. Azola has previously redeveloped historic properties, and said his background in preservation and Adams' work in custom housing "dovetail perfectly."

The 4.5-acre property is zoned for 28 residential units, so the developers are seeking planned-unit development status, which would give them flexibility in the planning process in exchange for a community benefit – the application notes that residents had desired retention of the front lawn as green space, as well as improvements to the mansion.

Baltimore County backed out of a plan to move government workers to a historic mansion in Towson, leading the developer to focus instead on a residential development.

As part of that process, a community input meeting will be scheduled for residents to offer comments. After that, the councilman may submit legislation to start county agencies' review of the project.

The application is "the beginning of the process," Marks said.

The units will be "designed for empty-nester living," Gilliss wrote in the application. The project is "intended for affluent active adult buyers who are seeking high-end, single-floor living with concierge-based services and an array of on-site amenities."

Azola — who said he plans to live there himself — said the condos will be geared toward older people looking to downsize.

"There are a lot of folks that live in the county and would like to stay there," he said.

The developers want to demolish 25,652 square feet of the property's existing 81,009 square feet of building space, according to the application. New buildings would add 63,502 square feet — for a total of 118,859 square feet of space.

The architect is David Benn of Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Azola said.

Towson residents and elected officials are scrambling to protect an 1850s mansion that houses a nursing home that's closing by the end of the year. The Presbyterian Home of Maryland, located in what was once known as the Bosley Mansion, is on the market.

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