Wednesday, January 16, 2008

They're back: Centex builds in Wheaton

Centex Homes is building an assortment of townhomes, single-family houses and self-described condominium-townhomes (pictured above) at the former site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, MD. The Leesborough Condos and Townhomes will sprout on a site that Centex acquired in late 2006; the Catholic preparatory school vacated in January, 2007. Now Centex, in its closest project to DC since pulling out of a number of DC Metro condo projects about a year ago, is building the American dream Wheaton-style, providing 54 townhouses, 45 condominiums and six (yes...six) single-family units at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Arcola.

Although the project hasn't begun to materialize yet, pre-construction sales started in December of 2007. According to Centex, people are chomping at the bit for some of the units, specifically the condominiums. Centex's model condo unit starts in the $360's for a two-level, condo-townhouse over a garage with roughly 1,900 s.f. of space, and is best described as a "Stacked townhome" according to Marketing Director Carla Sevilla. Sevilla explained that the stacked townhome provides the density the city requires while offering the owners plenty of square footage in a traditional townhouse feel; "It's a very unique product" Sevilla added. Of the 45 condos planned for the site, about 15 will be set aside as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDUs).

Centex has used "hybrid-condos" in the past; Brambleton Sky Meadows, Lansdowne Town Center, Buckingham Station and Village Place in Gainesville are all variations of the condo-turned rowhouse, or vice versa. Abnormal or not, sales at Leesborough are strong, according to Centex, with about a dozen sold since December, act fast. Centex is not making such claims for sales of their townhomes (pictured below). The 1,950-s.f., two-car garage, brick and Hardy Plank townhomes which start in the $420s are apparently a tougher sell. The final phase, which will add six single-family homes to the site, has not yet begun construction or sales.

Three separate architectural firms contributed to Centex's design. The condominium portion was drafted by Martin Architectural Group, while the townhomes were designed by two firms: Pinnacle Design and Consulting and Philly's Marshall/Sabatini. Centex expects some of the townhomes will be completed soon, planning to move in any buyers as early as the fall, while the first condos will arrive at the beginning of 2009.



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