Washington Square project to begin

After more than six years of planning, a nonprofit development group will break ground Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for Washington Square, a 59-unit housing project on the last major building parcel in Baltimore's Washington Hill community.

The event is a sign that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has agreed to allocate more than $1 million in federal funds to help pay for the $4.3 million project.


The city Housing Department asked HUD more than a year ago for permission to shift $1,003,223 left over from another development in East Baltimore to help fund the Washington Square project.

"After all these years, it's wonderful to see the last major piece of housing development take place in Washington Hill," said Betty Hyatt, director of Citizens for Washington Hill and head of the community development group constructing Washington Square.


"Washington Hill has fought long and hard for this project alongside the city, and our efforts have paid off," said housing Commissioner Daniel Henson. "This single project will go a long way toward stabilizing the entire community."

Washington Square involves construction of 37 new and rehabilitated townhouses and 22 condominiums for low- and moderate-income residents on four parcels within the 27-square-block Washington Hill urban renewal area. First mortgages would range from $34,000 to $70,000 for residents who meet state eligibility requirements.

Schamu, Machowski, Doo and Associates is the architect. The Bacon-Murphy Partnership, a local group head by BettyJean Murphy and Elinor Bacon, is the development consultant and construction manager. The Baltimore office of Prudential Preferred Properties is handling sales, with Patrick Frate as the sales agent. Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse is the general contractor. Work will take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Maryland's Community Development Administration has agreed to provide low-interest, first-mortgage financing to eligible families. Baltimore's nonprofit Community Development Financing Corp. is providing $4.2 million in construction financing. The city will contribute $542,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.


A development group that had planned to build a 79-room inn in the Otterbein section of downtown Baltimore has revised its plans and

now wants to build townhouses on the site.

Congress Hall Square Limited Partnership, a local group headed by Leslie and Michael Rock, last week presented plans to Baltimore's Design Advisory Panel that call for the construction of up to 18 two- and three-story townhouses on a 1.2-acre parcel along Hill Street, half a block west of Sharp Street.


D. W. Taylor is the architect. Hencken and Gaines is the lead contractor, possibly to be assisted by Ms. Rock's MLR Development Corp. Prices for the three-bedroom townhouses will range from about $115,000 to $180,000. Ms. Rock said the team hopes to receive city approvals in time to begin construction this fall and open the first phase of housing in early 1994.

It will be the third development in the immediate area for the team, which completed 11 townhouses along the 700 block of Sharp St. in the late 1980s and the Otterbein Swim Club several years later. Ms. Rock said the group switched its plans because it could not obtain funding for the inn, and the residential market is growing stronger.

Fair housing

Douglas Massey, a University of Chicago sociology professor and co-author of "American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass," will give the keynote address at a Forum on Fair Housing in Baltimore on June 7. It will be held at the McKeldin Center of Morgan State University, Hillen Road and Cold Spring Lane, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free to the public, the event is sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board. Co-sponsors include Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc., The Baltimore Urban League, the Citizens Planning and Housing Association, the Community Assistance Network, and Morgan's Institute for Urban Research. To register in advance, call the housing board at 661-7407.

Mount Airy


On the 10th anniversary of his most famous horse's dramatic win in the Belmont Stakes, thoroughbred horse breeder and Ryland Group founder Jim Ryan will begin a new chapter in the history of his Ryehill Farm in Mount Airy.

On Saturday, 10 years after Caveat won the Belmont Stakes, Mr. Ryan will open the first section of The Paddocks at Ryehill Farm, an estate-home community of 88 homesites, each two to three acres in size.

C&P; Homes, GYC Builders, H. R. Jenkins, Rylea Homes and Williamsburg Builders will construct the homes at The Paddocks, which is being designed to preserve the best of the Carroll County horse farm.

Mr. Ryan, who retired as Ryland's chairman and chief executive officer 12 years ago, stresses that his return to real estate is temporary. "I built over 30,000 homes at Ryland," he said. "That's quite enough for one lifetime."

Around town

* Architect Keith Mehner, whose design for the Maryland Institute's Japanese sculpture studio won a national honor award from the American Institute of Architects, has opened his own architectural firm at 306 Thornhill Road in Baltimore.


* The Enterprise Foundation promoted Helen Fink and Herschelle Reed-Morris to the position of program director.

* James Arnold, Carol Currotto and Daniel Harris have formed a new architecture and interior design firm called Point Three Inc. Their offices are at 1701 Union Ave. in Baltimore.