- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

Decades ago, most commuters only considered moving within a 30-minute drive or so of where they worked. These days, it is not unusual for people to drive an hour or two to get to their offices. Yet some workers have the option to telecommute or split their work hours between the office and home.

These shifting work and commuter patterns, combined with the high cost of housing in the Pennsylvania now commute to jobs in Washington and its suburban employment centers.

For those who enjoy an urban environment but want to spend less money on housing, Baltimore has become the “suburb” of choice for some Washingtonians. The median price for a home in the city of Baltimore in November 2008 was $137,450, while the median price for a condominium in the District was more than double that price at $360,000. Furthermore, single-family homes within the District’s borders had a median price of $515,000 in November 2008.

It’s easy to see why Baltimore appeals to urban dwellers. Not only can they afford to buy a condominium, town home or even a single-family home within the city limits, but they can also enjoy the cultural, entertainment and culinary amenities of Baltimore. The attractions and work locations in the District are less than one hour south (depending on the time of day the trek is made).

While the above prices reflect resale homes in both cities, Baltimore is also experiencing continued new residential development, including condominiums, town homes and single-family homes. These homes come with a higher price tag than the median price, but they also offer buyers the chance to customize their homes and take advantage of builder incentives. Most of these new homes are also designed to be energy-efficient.

At Silo Point, a 24-story condominium tower rises above Baltimore’s waterfront. Originally a 290-foot-tall grain terminal constructed for the B&O; Railroad in 1923, this site has been transformed into luxury condominiums by Turner Development Group.

The mixed-use development will include retail shops, full-service and cafe-style restaurants and a wine club. Residents may enjoy entertaining in the Style Sky Lounge, a 19th-floor club with 360-degree views of Baltimore’s harbor and a fireplace. Other on-site amenities include a billiards room, conference rooms, a fitness center and controlled-access garage parking.

A 24-hour doorman and concierge services will be available for residents, who can arrange for dry cleaning and laundry pick-up, dog-walking services, maid services and room service.

Over 30 different floor plans are available, with 1,100 to 5,000 square feet and prices from the upper $200,000s to $4,500,000 for a penthouse home. Condominium fees average $380 per month for one-bedroom homes and are about $550 per month for two-bedroom homes.

The homes have hardwood floors, walk-in closets, custom window treatments, a balcony or terrace, 10- to 20-foot ceilings, a full-size washer and dryer, a luxury master bath with an oversized soaking tub and a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counters. For more information, call 410/539-7456 or visit www.silopoint.com.

Bozzuto Homes Inc. is building 28 town homes and single-family homes at Woodbrook on Charles where the Ruxton, Roland Park and Rodgers Forge neighborhoods meet. Downtown Baltimore is nearby, and shops and restaurants are within walking distance at the Woodbrook Shopping Center.

The three- and four-bedroom homes include two stories, some with first-floor master suites. Each home has a large basement with a two-car rear-entry garage. The homes have from 2,700 to 3,700 finished square feet, with 10-foot ceilings on the first floor, gas fireplaces, columns, coffered ceilings, oak stairs, crown moldings and a gourmet kitchen with hardwood floors, 42-inch cabinets, granite counters, stainless steel appliances and gas cooking. Many of the floor plans include an optional elevator. Base prices for the homes range from the upper $600,000s to the mid-$900,000s. Call 410/753-4755 or visit www.woodbrookoncharles.com.

At Lombard Court at Fells Point, developed by Italy. Inside, the homes have an open floor plan with a gourmet kitchen that includes granite counters, a luxury master bath, a guest suite with its own bath and a third bedroom with access to a private rooftop deck. Each home has a two-car garage. Call 443/677-8821 or visit www.ruppertobrien.com/lombard.

Ashman’s Hope is a community of semicustom single-family homes being built by Laurence Construction in the historic Baltimore neighborhood of America, according to the community’s Web site. Some of the original structures still exist in the neighborhood and have influenced the traditional architecture of the homes.

Priced from the mid-$300,000s, the homes at Ashman’s Hope have up to 3,700 square feet of living space, with 9-foot ceilings, open floor plans, extensive windows and balconies accessible from the bedrooms. The homes have fiber cement siding and porches that take advantage of the heavily wooded setting open to the protected woods of Leakin Park.

In addition to standard features such as 42-inch cabinets in the kitchen, buyers can customize their homes with tray ceilings, fireplaces, a home theater, a master suite coffee bar, exotic hardwood floors, a two-story bay window and a “TechCenter,” which is an integrated space for a computer with multiple electrical outlets. Call 443/255-0697 or visit www.ashmanshope.com.

The Towns at Orchard Ridge is part of a mixed-use, mixed-income community known as Orchard Ridge, which will have a variety of homes and planned amenities such as a community center with a fitness center, pocket parks and recreation areas. The Towns is under development by the Marenberg Enterprises Inc. The 72 town homes are available in nine floor plans with two, three or four bedrooms, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 baths, along with off-street parking. A variety of price incentives is available based on household income, with prices for households earning above $70,000 per year starting at $199,990. The homes have covered front porches, cement siding, storage spaces and professional landscaping. Inside, buyers can choose their own kitchen cabinets and add stainless steel appliances, fireplaces, hardwood or ceramic tile floors, bay windows and a security system. Call 410/488-4088 or visit www.orchardridgesales.com.

Ryan Homes is building condominiums and town homes at Catonsville, which is also nearby, offers shops, restaurants and outdoor recreational amenities.

The condominiums are priced from the upper $150,000s and have up to 1,400 square feet of living space, with as many as three bedrooms and two baths with a fully equipped kitchen and a washer and dryer. The town homes are priced from the upper $180,000s and have three bedrooms, up to 3 1/2 baths and up to 2,585 finished square feet. These homes have a fully equipped kitchen and a washer and dryer. The builder is offering $5,000 in closing costs on both the town homes and the condominiums with the use of a preferred lender. For more information, call 410/368-5714 or visit www.ryanhomes.com.

Beazer Homes Corp. is building condominiums and single-family homes at Quarry Lake at Greenspring, a planned community sited around the 42-acre Quarry Lake. The community, which is in Baltimore, includes the Shops at Quarry Lake, a town center with shops and restaurants. The Lakeshore Club, also part of the community, has view of the lake, a swimming pool, a hot tub, a tennis court and a fitness center that includes sauna and massage room.

The Bluffs collection of condominiums, with 1,884 to 2,843 finished square feet, have two bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, along with a one- or two-car garage. These homes are priced from the mid-$400,000s to the upper $700,000s.

The Highlands condominiums, with 1,439 to 1,963 finished square feet, have two bedrooms and two baths with a one-car garage. These homes are base-priced from the low $300,000s to the mid-$400,000s.

The single-family homes, priced from the low $700,000s to the low $800,000s, have four bedrooms, two to four full baths, a powder room and a two-car garage. These two-story homes have from 2,972 to 3,767 finished square feet.

Call 410/484-8905 for the Bluffs, 410/415-5357 for the Highlands or 410/580-0537 for the single-family homes, or visit www.beazer.com.

Beazer Homes is building single-family homes at the Parks at Mount Washington in Baltimore, a planned community that includes a clubhouse with a swimming pool, tennis courts and playgrounds. Entry monuments add elegance to this community of cul-de-sac streets that is on the grounds of the former Bonnie View Country Club, minutes from Interstates 83 and 695.

Three models are available with English basements (partly above grade), each priced from the low to upper $500,000s. Four more models are available with non-English basements (under grade), priced from the upper $500,000s to the mid-$600,000s. All the homes have four or five bedrooms, 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 baths and a two-car garage. The homes have from 2,637 to 3,360 finished square feet. Call 410/580-1545 or visit www.beazer.com.

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