Monday, March 5, 2012

Elkridge Crossing: Lets Right the Wrongs


Elkridge Crossing was supposed to sweep Elkridge by storm as the area's first high density mixed use Neighborhood that would serve as a model of redevelopment for areas in Central Maryland looking to urbanize. Unfortunately there have been numerous pitfalls regarding the development of the Neighborhood, School Crowding, and a strict HOA. The concept is Elkridge Crossing is one that I admire, so I would love for all the wrongs to be righted moving forward and construction to continue as planned.
The site now known as Elkridge Crossing was once a Drive In Movie Theater that had closed decades ago and has stood vacant ever since. Up until recently, the outskirts of Elkridge have been the subject of intense residential development, as those areas have reached build out, developers have been focusing on the town center of Elkridge, developing and redeveloping areas that are under utilized. That is where Elkridge Crossing enters the picture.
The Brantly Development Group and Ryan Homes teamed up to make Elkirdge Crossing a reality. Elkridge Crossing when built out, will have 266 "two over two" town homes, 96 Condos, 90 Apartments, an Office Building, and Retail that faces Route 1.
In 2008 Construction began on some town homes and condos as well as the offices. 2008 marked the beginning of the housing collapse which put future phases of development on hold indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the first phase did sell well relatively considering the freeze in new mortgages nationwide well into 2009. There were some other projects in Elkridge that contained rental Apartments which the already constructed phases of Elkridge Crossing did not have which allowed their developments in full as the rental market was not effected as drastically as homes for purchase. As the first Residents of Elkridge Crossing moved in, they began to see that their homes, schools, and HOA were not what they were hoping for.
As for the construction, residents who moved into the two over two town homes have begun to question whether or not slabs of concrete that were used as sound proofing between their next door and up/down stairs neighbors were in fact installed. It seems that Residents can hear their neighbors even when they weren't talking loudly or walking hard. The HOA has also according to Residents, been fining them things as petty as leaving their garage door open for too long. The Neighborhood Schools Elkridge Elementary and Elkridge Landing Middle have become very crowded much to the distress of Residents.
One resident went so far as to purchase the domain name elkridgecrossing.com to air these concerns for future Residents. They also are upset that future phases have failed to come to fruition due to litigation against both the developer and the builder. Ironically, if future phases were built in a more timely fashion that would have produced more children attending the already crowded Schools that current Residents already complain about.
As far as litigation between the builder and developer, as of 2010 the legal matters have been settled and earlier this year a building request was submitted to the County for the development of 36 of the remaning 200 two over two town homes. The Apartment Building and Retail have yet and 164 remaining town homes have yet to be submitted.
Moving forward I think future phases regarding Elkridge Crossing should right the wrongs that are currently at the forefront of minds of current Residents. First off, all new town homes should contain better sound roofing walls and ceilings. The Schools will also be dealt with.
Elkridge Elementary went through a major renovation/addition in 2009 upping the capacity from 610 to 779. Although this hasn't stemmed the major growth in the area there is a new Elementary School in the area is slated to open in 2013 to take a huge chunk out of Elkridge, Bellows Spring, and Deep Run Elementaries and a new Middle School in 2014 will relieve Elkirdge Landing, Mayfeild Woods, and Bonnie Branch.
In the coming years Elkridge Crossing will be completed and I believe it will live up to its promise of being the County's first mixed use Community as a model for Communities looking to urbanize in Central Maryland, however they must first right the wrongs.

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