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Presbyterian Home announces sale; condos likely

The Presbyterian Home of Maryland said today it has found a buyer for its historic property in Towson’s Southland Hills neighborhood. The buyers are Martin P. Azola, a developer known for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and Delbert L. Adams, head of the high-end construction firm Delbert Adams Construction Group.

Azola said in an interview Wednesday that the pair, working as Bosley Estates, LLC, are still in the fact-finding stage but their initial plan is to convert the properties into condominiums. The exact number is still up in the air, he said, but they are hoping to have up to 40 units. He said the building might not accommodate that number, though, and that it is currently zoned for up to 28 units.

“The mansion has been worked over, over its lifetime and it’s not pristine but we would certainly restore the exterior. There are some glaring things need to be changed; we desperately want to take the cell tower off the roof,” Azola said. “But basically the exterior would stay as it is and the interior would be changed.” 

He said the extensive lawn would have improved landscaping and will likely remain open space that nearby residents can utilize.

“I think that open space is certainly important to the ambiance — not only to the building if you’re in it, but to the neighborhood,” said Azola, who grew up nearby on Dixie Drive. “We certainly don’t envision barbecue pits and jungle gyms and so forth, but a pleasant place to look at and walk in.”  

Councilman David Marks said he was happy about the news.

“This development team commands enormous respect within the historic preservation community, and I am delighted that they have been selected to advance this project,” Marks said in a statement. “I would like to thank Presbyterian Home of Maryland, Inc. for keeping my office and the community constantly updated throughout this process, and I look forward to work with all parties we move forward.  Let’s make this a showpiece in Baltimore County.”

A “Save the Bosley Mansion” rally in August 2016

The Presbyterian Home, an assisted living facility housed in what is known as the Bosley Mansion, is moving to Harford County. At one point, Caves Valley Partners said it wanted to buy the property and Baltimore County discussed using it as office space. That idea was later abandoned.

“The Azola Companies and Delbert Adams Construction are well known for their quality work, historic preservation and adaptive re-use projects. Southland Hills looks forward to learning the details of the project, working with Bosley Estates, LLC and Councilman Marks for a mutually beneficial residential use project,” the group Save the Bosley Mansion, headed by Kate Knott, said in a statement. “The neighborhood is working with the Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County to add the Bosley Mansion and its historic setting to the Baltimore County Landmarks list.”

Southland Hills resident Rona Kobell said she agreed with that assessment.

“[Azola’s] renovation of the jail has turned that building into one of Towson’s most beautiful,” Kobell said. “Personally, I look forward to working with a developer who not only has an excellent reputation for historic preservation, but also is known for his dialogue with the community.”

A group of Towson residents is working to have the building declared a historic landmark.

A news release today said that: Marty and his son Tony specialize in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and the Azola Companies have been a major player in building restoration and reuse of historic properties in Maryland for over 50 years. A few of the Azola’s successful projects include the residential communities of Devon Hill, Rockland, Rockland Village, The Federal Park, and most recently the luxury Ivy Hotel in Baltimore. The Azola Companies also completed the preservation and landmarking of the Historic Towson Jail property, which was built on land donated to the County in 1854 by the Bosley family for both the Old Courthouse and the Jail.

Delbert began his restoration in the early 1980’s with the involvement of the Washington Monument restoration in Baltimore. Over the past 30 years, Delbert has focused his professional attention on major luxury renovation projects; both residential and commercial and new custom homes. In addition, Delbert has been involved with the renovation and building of many private clubs in Maryland including Caves Valley Club, The Maryland Club, the Elkridge Club, the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club and most recently the building of the new Gibson Island Clubhouse.

Azola and Admas have 90 days to research the property and the market before the purchase would be finalized. During the study period, the property remains protected under the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation requirements.

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