Potential buyers with extensive experience in historic preservation have emerged for the Presbyterian Home of Maryland property in Towson and its centerpiece building, the Bosley Mansion, which dates from around 1840.
Presbyterian Home of Maryland Inc., the owner of the property at 400 Georgia Court in Towson, announced this week that it has negotiated a contract to sell the 4.5-acre parcel to a group called Bosley Estates LLC.
The principals of Bosley Estates, LLC include Martin P. Azola and Delbert L. Adams, two local developers and contractors known for their work with adaptive re-use of historic properties.
The Presbyterian Home did not say what Azola and Adams might do with the property, which has most recently been used as a nursing home.
The Presbyterian Home disclosed last year that it was leaving the property and putting it up for sale. The sellers indicated in a statement that the sale contract gives the buyers a study period to investigate possible uses for the property.
“As stewards of this property since 1929, PHM is especially pleased to have reached an agreement with a purchaser that has a vision to preserve this unique property for future generations,” the statement said in part.
“The partnership of Azola and Adams is a perfect alignment of experience as they now set their sights on the historic Bosley Mansion property. During the study period, they will be exploring all options for a reuse of the existing buildings, including the historic Mansion building, while maintaining a healthy sensitivity to the neighborhood.”
Martin Azola and his son, Tony, specialize in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and the Azola Companies have been active in building restoration and reuse of historic properties in Maryland for more than 50 years.
Azola’s projects include the residential communities of Devon Hill, Rockland, Rockland Village, The Federal Park and, most recently, the Ivy Hotel in Baltimore. The firm also completed the preservation and landmarking of the historic Towson Jail property, which was built on land donated to Baltimore County in 1854 by the Bosley family for both the Old Courthouse and the jail.
Adams, who heads Delbert Adams Construction, began his restoration work in the early 1980s, working on the Washington Monument in Baltimore during the Schaefer administration.
Adams has focused his attention for the last 30 years on major luxury renovation projects — both residential and commercial — as well as new custom homes. He has also 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 the new Gibson Island Clubhouse.
Azola previously had suggested condominiums for the property. He said in an email message that his group is currently exploring options.
“Condos are indeed one use that would work there,” he said. “Actually, the building would work again for assisted living, offices or apartments too. Zoning is an issue…And neighborhood sentiment is important. The current owner has been there since 1929.”
Azola said in a phone conversation that he lived nearby when he was growing up and met his wife, Lone, in the area as well.
“I can’t think of a nicer neighborhood than Southland Hills,” he said. “In terms of character, it’s just a very nicely built traditional subdivision that fits with my impression of Towson.”
Caves Valley Partners had the property under contract last year. It was pursuing plans to lease the mansion as offices for the Baltimore County government but didn’t move ahead with the project.
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks issued a statement expressing support for the contract with Azola and Adams.
“This development team commands enormous respect within the historic preservation community, and I am delighted that they have been selected to advance this project,” he said. “I would like to thank the Presbyterian Home of Maryland for keeping my office and the community constantly updated throughout this process, and I look forward to [working] with all parties as we move forward. Let’s make this a showpiece for Baltimore County.”