Towson Mews first area project for Virginia developer

Evergreene Cos., a Chantilly, Va., developer, is debuting in the Baltimore metro market with its first-ever project, Towson Mews, located in East Towson.

Josh Mastrangelo, Evergreene's president, coastal division, said the residential developer did a market survey of greater Baltimore before deciding on East Towson.

"It was the right opportunity. A lot of exciting things are happening in Towson," he said.

The project calls for 35 townhouses that will front onto East Pennsylvania, Jefferson and Virginia avenues and with a through-street from Jefferson to Virginia. The developer chose to build townhouses rather than a high-rise building, as Baltimore County zoning would have allowed, because of the need for that type of housing, said Mastrangelo.

"It is an appropriate transition from the single-family houses in East Towson to the high-rises" in west Towson, he said.

The project is being constructed on 2 acres of land that is currently occupied by the headquarters of Daft McCune Walker, an engineering company. That three-story office building, at 200 E. Pennsylvania Ave., will be demolished to make way for Towson Mews. Daft McCune Walker, or DMW, will relocate to another site in downtown Towson currently being negotiated.

Tom Repsher, chairman of DMW, said in a statement to the Towson Times that the "property was on the market prior [to its sale to Evergreene]. The townhouse concept was created by DMW, which was key to attract Evergreene."

Repsher declined to give a sale price for the DMW property. Similarly, Mastrangelo declined to provide the cost of the Towson Mews project, although a ballpark figure put it under $100 million.

According to Robert Latshaw Jr., principal of Latshaw Commercial Real Estate, past president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and chairman of the Greater Baltimore Economic Forum, "The location is terrific. It is near Towson University, which is growing and growing, and diagonally across from Towson Square."

Towson Square is an $85-million entertainment complex of 15-movie theaters, restaurants and underground parking. "It's creating a new ambiance on the east side of York Road," Latshaw said of Towson Square, scheduled to open in fall of 2014.

The DMW property is going from commercial to residential use, says Latshaw. Even so, the zoning would have allowed Evergreene Cos. to build a 5.5 times bigger development than it is doing or, put another way, a five-story, 55,000 square foot building, Latshaw said.

"We're seeing a lot of residential development in Towson," said Latshaw, the main occupants being people who work in Towson and students, faculty and staff of Towson University.

However, there is also a sizeable senior adult community in Towson. They live in single-family houses in the area and, when they sell their houses to downsize, still want to live in Towson.

Besides high-rise condominiums and apartment buildings, Latshaw points to Towson Green, a Bozzuto Homes project of townhouses.Half of the original approximately 120 townhouses have been sold, he says, and more are under construction. Prices start at $350,000 to $400,000.

With the Towson Mews project still in the county permitting process, many details have yet to be nailed down. However, Mastrangelo could say that the townhouses will the three-stories high on lots of 20-feet by 36-feet in size. He expects demolition of the DMW building and construction to begin within the next 12 to 18 months.

It's too early to have a price point but the townhouses, billed as "luxury," will be sold at market rate at the time of completion. Said Matrangelo, "We still have to flesh out the formal architecture."

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