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The Greens at English Consul are the first residential development in Baltimore Highlands in 20 years. (The Daily Record/Adam Bednar)

Enterprise celebrates first Baltimore Highlands development in decades

Moses Rodriguez received a call from Denver the other day.

Rodriguez, president of Greater Baltimore Highlands Community Association, said the call was from an elderly man who grew up in the neighborhood. He wanted to move back after hearing about The Greens at English Consul. The new affordable senior housing project is the first residential development in the neighborhood in at least 20 years.

“It’s an anomaly,” Rodriguez said about the new construction.

On Tuesday the developer, residents and elected officials celebrated the grand opening of the new building. The $14.6 million development by Enterprise Homes includes 72 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments for people aged 62 and older who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income. Grimm + Parker Architects designed the project, which was built by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

The project, located at 4120 Oak Road, is built on a lot between single-family homes on the west side of the narrow street. An apartment complex and a school are located on the east side. The development’s amenities include a fitness room, a television room, a sports bar and a library with computer terminals.

“This is an area that hasn’t seen any new residential development in a long, long time. So, we’re really happy to be here and to be able help Baltimore Highlands in redeveloping their community,” Enterprise Homes President and CEO Chickie Grayson said.

The project is also the first in the state to be built using new Rental Housing Works funds. The program provides gap-funding for affordable-housing projects through the state’s Multifamily Bond Program and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, according to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s website. All told, Rental Housing Works had $17.5 million budgeted for fiscal 2013 and $20 million for fiscal 2014.

“Essentially, for seniors, in this particular case, we’re really giving people a chance to have accessible housing, good quality housing, meet new people and to get a new lease on life,” Grayson said,

Before the opening ceremony, both Grayson and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz agreed that there’s significant need for senior housing in the county, particularly in Baltimore’s older suburbs.

“It’s part of our strategy to support these projects because it allows people to age in place and still live in the same communities where these families lived all along. So they’re near families, they’re near friends and they’re still in their existing communities, where they are most comfortable,” Kamenetz said.

Rodriguez said he’s just happy to see the new housing open.

He used to ride up to the site before the project was built. Sitting on the lot was an old abandoned duplex, just rotting away, Rodriguez said. He would think to himself there was no way anything could be built on the land. But on Tuesday, he was pleased to see Enterprise Homes was able to accomplish what it said it would do.

“By the looks of [the development], it looks like it’s going to be a success,” he said.