Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Owen Brown Reinvestment

Like I've said before Owen Brown has some of Columbia's most dated housing stock yet it one of the fewest number of rental properties of any Columbia Village. Also the size of most homes in Owen Brown are very large. These reasons and more are why redevelopment on a large scale in Owen Brown isn't the answer to put it in the 21st century.
Other Villages warrant redevelopment so much more than Owen Brown but that doesn't mean Owen Brown doesn't need a massive face lift to stay viable. So, I will start a serious of posts that support the massive over haul of exterior facades in almost all Columbia Villages starting with Owen Brown. So here's the reinvestment of Owen Brown.First we start with Southwick. Southwick is a town home development located on both Knighthood Lane and Talisman Lane. The uniform brick design leaves a lot to the imagination. There is also a lack of windows here. The windows that are here have no decorative trimmings and bump outs on the front doors.
Although these are apartments, they were built in 1974 and underwent a massive exterior facade overhaul. It's a mixture of the original uniform bricks coupled with siding, shutters, and slanted roof decorative trimming. This would be a great new look for Southwick although they're town homes.Elkhorn Landing town homes also need a major overhaul. The chimneys on the front need to disused to create a more uniform appearance. The homes use wooden siding and brick fronts. Elkhorn Landing is located on Lasting Last Way and Winter Rose Path. Vinyl siding with stone and shutters and bay windows would make a great new appearance to Elkhorn Landing. Also there are many more windows in the new Elkhorn Landing allowing for more natural lighting.Here we are in Woodlake, whose design is similar to that of Southwick only the homes are much larger. The front yards here have also turned for the worse. Old and sick trees have caused grass to stop growing around their bases. A good investment in this neighborhood would be to remove said trees and plant new healthy ones in their place and reseeding lawns. Woodlake is located on Kerry Hill Court, Mossy Brink Court, and Hickory Log Circle.This new design concept is probably the easiest to see. The homes here are split foyer like those in Woodlake, and are brick front. They incorporate many more windows which in Owen Brown are an endangered species or at least they were in the mid to late 1970s when these homes were built. One thing to point out is that newer town homes have a uniformed look to their backs. This is something that homes in Owen Brown currently lack and that should be incorporated in its reinvestment.Swanpoint is probably Owen Brown's modernist looking development. That's probably because it's newer having been built in the 1980s rather than the '70s. All it needs is some new siding for a fresher appearance. Swanpoint is located on Swanpoint Lane and Harbor Lane.As luck would have there is such a development built just a few years later in Clary's Forest which Swanpoint can model itself after.The last two developments off of Cradlerock Way that are blighted look exactly the same and their new look will also be the same. The are Dockside and Lakeside and they're located on Dockside Lane and Broken Staff respectively. The trees here are also sick and need to be cut down and replaced with healthy ones to allow grass to grow.
I looked to Baltimore for inspiration on the Dockside/Lakeside renewal. I used the Townes At Orchard Ridge which is a redevelopment in and of itself. It replaced the Claremont Homes and Freedom Village Public Housing Projects. You can see some of them are two stories and others are three just like the homes they're modeling to be.The Duplexes in Hopewell at the end of Carved Stone and Stag Horn Path could use a freshening. Like Woodlake, the landscaping is at the mercy of sick and old trees. It's time to replace these tress as well with healthier ones to let the grass grow.These town homes don't look much different than the duplexes but like I said they just need a freshening.

Well that's it for the reinvestment of Owen Brown. Along with the redevelopment, Owen Brown will look completely renewed and you'll barely recognize it.


Anonymous said...

Who is going to pay to rebuild the facades of hundreds of privately owned houses? Just curious about what the finance mechanism is...

Spence said...

I was waiting for someone to ask me that. There are plenty of purse strings that can be pulled for funding of such a project. All three levels of Government local, state, and federal want to brag about new jobs created. This type of project will create jobs in the construction industry which has been slowed to a grinding halt due to the economy. This will put these people back to work. Also HOAs, home owners pay their HOA for neighborhood upkeep. This is such an instance where HOAs can pitch in to modernize their facades to keep their communities from showing their age too much. When a project like this is taken on, every politician wants their name on the "progress ahead" sign to get votes so they would pay for such a thing. Also why not the Enerprise Foundation? Heck James Rouse created it why not use to reinvest in the City he created?