Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Model home being built on Chestnut Lodge

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The model for a high-end subdivision behind Chestnut Lodge is under construction on the property.

Work on the first home that will eventually number 36 Victorian-style houses with detached garages reminiscent of ‘‘old Rockville” recently began.

‘‘The market is not the greatest. We do have two sales and quite a bit of people that are interested,” Bethesda-based developer Morton H. Levine, CEO of Chestnut Lodge Properties, said.

Starting at $1.3 million and going past the $2 million mark, the homes will be build behind the historic Chestnut Lodge building, from which the Bullard family ran a sanitarium for most of last century.

Chestnut Lodge, which motorists can see from West Montgomery Avenue, was once the Woodlawn Hotel, a vacation spot for well-to-do Washingtonians.

The development company plans to build seven condominium units in the 1889 lodge.

Behind the lodge, bulldozers began moving earth for sediment and erosion control about 30 days ago, Levine said.

He estimates the homes will be completed within three to four years. Planning for the condominium units, some of which will be located in a new wing of the lodge, continues.

‘‘We’re hoping that within the next 12 to 18 months we can get into final design and planning approval and start construction and rehabilitation,” Levine said, referring to the condominiums.

The front eight acres of the 20-acre property, including the lodge, was designated historic by the Rockville City Council in 2002.

The development plan saved several of the buildings that once made up the sanitarium campus. Bullard’s original home will be sold as a single-family property and Frieda’s Cottage has been gifted to Peerless Rockville.

The large green space west of the lodge will be owned by the homeowners association.

The subdivision will offer homes sized from 2,800 to 6,500 square feet.