HDP renews its offer to build housing on the former school site | Winchester Star


WINCHESTER — A stalled residential development on the site of the former Frederick County Middle School is showing signs of life again.

Chicago’s Healthcare Development Partners (HDP) applied to the Winchester Planning Commission to renew a development plan originally approved by the city council in February 2021. According to documents prepared by the city’s planning and zoning department, the original plan expired one year after board approval because HDP did not follow up with a site plan within 12 months.

“They (HDP) called me on February 10” to ask about the status of the initial development plan, Winchester planning director Timothy Youmans said during the working session on Tuesday. monthly from the city’s planning commission. “Their plan had expired a day earlier.”

HDP has not explained why a site plan was not prepared within the mandated one-year deadline, but the development plan resubmitted to the commission this week is virtually identical to the one approved last February.

According to old and current development plans, HDP wants to build two separate residential developments on the site of the old school which was demolished in September. The first would include up to 143 two- and three-bedroom townhouses on a 13.1-acre site at 441 Linden Drive. The second, which would be built on 9.6 acres adjacent to 301 Linden Drive, would include 160 one- and two-bedroom apartments for people 55 and older.

Market-priced townhouses would include 329 parking spaces, and age-restricted apartments would include 240 more. A 2.3 acre public park would also be constructed by HDP on the south end of the townhouse property.

“It’s something that I find admirable,” Youmans said of the company’s plan to create a neighborhood park.

According to a tax impact analysis submitted with the first development plan, the townhouses would add approximately 52 students to Winchester Public Schools. This expense, along with the city’s costs to provide infrastructure and emergency services to apartments and townhouses, would be offset by property taxes paid by HDP and property and sales taxes paid by residents. HDP estimated last year that the entire residential development is expected to add $508,784 to Winchester’s coffers each year.

Youmans said on Tuesday that an updated budget impact analysis is currently being prepared by the HDP.

“We are confident that this will remain positive,” he told the Planning Commission.

In a February 23 letter to Youmans, HDP Chairman Todd Bryant said his company was negotiating with “a nationally recognized homebuilder” to build the townhouses, and he expects that that an agreement is finalized this summer. The homebuilder’s name was not disclosed, but in September HDP project manager Andy Palec said HDP was negotiating with Ryan Homes. Documents shared with the Planning Commission on Tuesday included townhouse designs from Ryan Homes and New Jersey-based K. Hovnanian Homes.

“I think it will be one developer taking care of all the townhouses,” Youmans said.

Bryant’s letter also says United Plus Property Management, a division of the New York-based United Group of Companies, has been contracted to manage the age-limited apartments, which would be built by HDP. United Plus Property Management currently oversees approximately 7,000 apartments, most of which are for seniors.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and vote on HDP’s new development plan at its April 19 business meeting. The commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Planning and Economic Development Committee for further discussion, then to City Council for a final decision.

“I think it’s an exciting plan,” said commission chairman Mark Loring. “It was exciting when we first watched it [last year].”

The residential development on Linden Drive is not the only HDP project in Winchester that has experienced significant delays. The company was also approved by council in March 2019 to convert the former Winchester Memorial Hospital on West Cork Street into a senior living center with 107 independent living flats, 24 assisted living units, 34 care units from memory and several houses. facilities including spa, swimming pools and beauty salon.

Work on the site of the old hospital was due to start in October 2020, but little has been done that can be seen from the street. Youmans said HDP was still working on “very, very complicated” designs for the project, so it postponed applying for planning permission until its plans were finalized. HDP also told the city that site work and construction could begin in June.

Chairman Mark Loring, Vice Chairman Lacey Burnett and Members John Tagnesi, Leesa Mayfield, Paul Richardson, Brandon Pifer and David Ray attended the Winchester Planning Commission business session on Tuesday afternoon at the hotel of town of Rouss.


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