Friday, December 25, 2009

Hickory Ridge Redvelopment

There are those who think that Hickory Ridge doesn't need any redevelopment because it's one of Columbia's newest Villages. Fact of the matter is Hickory Ridge is Columbia's Fifth Village with the first homes going up in the early 1970s before Owen Brown. Hickory Ridge was built in stages and three big reasons that it's thought of as a new Village is because its Village Center is Columbia's second newest opening in 1992, the newer housing st along Broken Land Parkway and Hickory Ridge Road, and Clarys Forest. Even Clarys Forest has a few developments that need redevelopment and with that I give you the redevelopment of Hickory Ridge.First comes Sierra Villas. I don't ever recall these ever being attractive in their 35 year existence. Located at the high traffic Cedar Lane and Hickory Ridge Road intersection they serve as a Gateway to Clary's Forest.Villas can be done right. First off, these have Garages allowing for more homes to be built on the land locked site Sierra Villas sits on. Garages are much better than carports when it comes to security, protection, and cosmetics. These villas are built with vinyl siding and brick compared with the yellow stucco and brown wooding siding of the current Sierra Villas. This will be 100% Market Rate Home Ownership.Next there's the Bluffs at Clary's Forest, surrounded by newer looking developments like Clarys Chase, Reflections, The Club Merion, and Clary's Crossing. There haven't been any interior renovations here and the trees are sick not allowing grass to grow here. In its place will be new elevator mixed income Apartments/Condos 55% Market Rate Home Ownership 35% Market Rate Rentals and 10% Subsidized Home Ownership. It will also complement the existing developments nearby.The Greens at Columbia, now why this one? There haven't been interior renovations and the amount needed (I toured this complex) would require vacating the complex and gutting the interior and updating the exterior facades. A full redevelopment would be just as viable.In its place will be a new courtyard style Condo Complex that would complement the way the Greens at Columbia are currently configured. A new development would put a new face on another Clarys Forest "Gateway" Complex like Sierra Villas. It will be 50% Market Rate Home Ownership and 50% Below Market Rate Home Ownership.The Bluffs at Hawthorn is identical to the Bluffs at Clarys Forest. Surrounding Developments along Hickory Ridge Road are newer and have had substantial reinvestment at the same time. The Bluffs at Hawthorn has neither of these things. It's time this aging development be replaced with new 100% Market Rate Rentals that would go with its surroundings better. The old Bluffs at Hawthorn shares the same flaws as the Bluffs at Clarys Forest.Hickory Ridge Place might be the first Apartment Building in the Village. Even though it's had interior renovations it's still seen better days. In fact, I would have it redeveloped as a 100% Subsidized Senior Apartment Complex.Here's a good example of a new Senior Apartment Building that would be a great replacement for Hickory Ridge Place. It has the same branching off that Hickory Ridge Place does.

Well most of you would think that these developments don't need to be changed. I do mostly because they haven't withstood the test of time. In order for Columbia to be a contender in the 21st Century all developments need to look in pristine condition. And I do mean all of them.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vantage Point Reinvestment

Town Center is almost exclusively new housing. Banneker was built in the mid 1990s and that's the second oldest part. Vantage Point is the oldest part and most think of it as an extension to Running Brook (I grew up in Vantage Point and had to explain it that way when somebody asked where I lived). I didn't even count Creighton's Run (Davidge Drive) as Town Center because it's too weird to think of that as Town Center. Vantage Point is full of subdivisions that were built from 1974-1986. Vantage House was completed in 1990 but I'm concentrating on all ages housing stock. How about we reinvest in Vantage Point and make it look brand new just like the rest of Town Center? Also the part of Running Brook that Vantage Point abuts to I would have redeveloped.
First lets start off with the Condos on Smooth Meadow Way. They were built in 1983 and with a minor facelift they can look brand new.The new look for Smooth Meadow I'm taking cues from Island Club Apartments in Dorsey's Search which believe it or not were built in 1986 and just received a face lift themselves.Now we come to Ring Dove Lane town homes built in 1974 these were the first homes in Vantage Point, I resided at 5477 from 1988-2003 age 4-19, I attended Running Brook Elementary and Wilde Lake Middle and High. They've already received face lifts in 2000 but I'd like to kick it up a notch. Two story town homes will lose the front storage patios (which were always a carpenter bee's haven) to make way for larger front yards and more decorative front windows. The bedroom balconies and bump outs will be taken out as well. Up stairs windows will be moved away from the sides to allow for decorative shutters. The bricks that separate each home will be done away with.The three story town homes will have garages built where the carports currently are. Front doors will be bumped out to reflect this as well. Balconies will be done away with just like the two stories for decorative windows as will the separating bricks. Windows here are in a much better location for shutters.Here's what I have in mind for the two stories, notice the clean fresh appearance and the decorative features currently lacking. The three stories, now garages will give Ring Dove Lane a more modern look than the dated car ports and will make them a bigger selling point.
Waterbury town homes have held up quite well. Built in 1984, a good 10 years after the first houses in Vantage Point they still use wooden siding and every row of houses uses the same light blue color.
I'm using Foregate on the Green in Dorsey's Search as a good idea for putting on new siding in Waterbury. It will use vinyl siding and use different colors to create a more interesting mix of homes.Now we come to Glen Meadows, which consists of both Condos and Town Homes. Built in 1986 they're Vantage Point's newest homes yet they look the most dated. The dark wood siding and the lack of front windows over the front doors don't do these homes any favors. The condos, although their siding is dated don't need any real design changes. The new siding will take care of everything. I might add enclosed building entries as a safety measure.I took design cues from a rental Apartment/Town Home Complex known as Kaiser Park in Ellicott City. Although it was built from 2003-2004 a good 17-18 years after Glen Meadows it's easy to plug in the design of these homes into Glen Meadows. I'm aware Glen Meadows has garages and these don't but look beyond that. The condos are even easier to transform. Just add new siding and an enclosed building entry and there's your new Glen Meadows. These are the Apartments at Kaiser Park in Ellicott City same development as the Town Homes.Water's Edge is Vantage Point's second development. Built in 1975 these town homes are huge! They use a stucco exterior which is dated and that's putting it nicely. Unlike the rest of Vantage Point it's hard to grow grass here. That's a sign that the trees here are sickly and need to be replaced with new healthy trees allowing grass to grow once again.For Waters Edge I used Summerfield at River Hill as a design cue. Their brick fronts provide a fresh modern look. They also have fireplaces in the front like Waters Edge which has and this shows this design can look in the 21st century.

Well that's for Vantage Point, the neighborhood that raised me, after the housing stock is updated it will look brand new just like the rest of Town Center making it fit in perfectly.