Wednesday, April 14, 2010

courts of woodside

Twins and Bus Stop
The Courts of Woodside is a twenty-three-home neighborhood under construction on Georgia Avenue at Noyes Drive north of Downtown Silver Spring. It's built by the Kentlands Company, a descendant of those who developed the now-famous neighborhood of the same name in Gaithersburg.

Unlike Kentlands, which was built twenty years ago on a farm at the suburban fringe, the Courts of Woodside occupies an infill lot in an area dating to the turn of the 20th century that's now increasingly urban. It presents an not-so-unusual challenge to the architects (whom I worked for briefly one summer many years ago): how can you build something without disrupting the historic character of the neighborhood?

The answer, it turned out, was literally to move the past. Three old, decaying houses on site were fully restored and shifted elsewhere, making room for twenty new townhouses. Here's one of those three houses in 2007 . . .

Old House In Courts of Woodside, 2007
and here's one today. You can see how the new townhouses have a similar color palette and use the same materials and trim as their older counterparts, creating a unified look. It good example for other infill projects in Downtown Silver Spring and throughout the county and shows that new development doesn't have to stick out, regardless of building type or cost.

Corner of Noyes and Courts Way
Also note that end townhouses have a door on the side, giving them the appearance of a large, detached home. That's just one of the many ways a good designer can "disguise" attached housing, making it blend better in neighborhoods with lots of single-family homes.

Of course, the developers could have built this entire project with single-family homes. But it'd be a waste of a site blocks from Downtown Silver Spring and on top of the Red Line and several Metrobus routes that stop at the corner of Georgia and Noyes - a place where new housing wouldn't automatically mean more car trips because residents would have alternative ways to get around. It would also prevent them from providing small pocket parks within the development, offering residents and visitors alike places to sit and enjoy the scenery.

A Porch In Silver Spring
Of course, even the townhouses in the Courts of Woodside aren't cheap, with prices reaching well over half a million dollars. But when you'll find mostly apartments and condos south of Spring Street and single-family houses north of it, this development creates a new choice for people moving to the area.

There aren't many places where you can lie in a hammock on a porch and see a city skyline. Building up our urban centers is important, but so is taking advantage of underutilized land in our residential neighborhoods as well. After all, not everyone wants to live downtown. And with projects like the Courts of Woodside, we can provide more choices for people who'd like a little city in their suburb - or vice versa.

Check out this slideshow of the Courts of Woodside.


dave said...

Would be interesting to see infill development like this that wasn't neo-traditional in style. But at least, as in the Kentlands, the typical cookie-cutter, everything-on-the-cheap, McMansion new development typical of the area was avoided. Count that as a victory of taste over pure profit.

What of the big announcement promised yesterday? Certainly this wasn't it?

Greg Sanders said...

I've enjoyed watching the Courts go up. I actually had a friend that had lived in one of those historic houses that were moved (not a big coincidence, I lived just a few blocks away), so it was a particularly interesting process for me. I'll have to see if there's an open house I can attend some day when life is throwing a few less things at me.

Joe Rubin said...

Hey Dan, thanks for the kind words; you captured the real essence of the community. I am marketing the Courts of Woodside for GTM and it has been just a terrific experience. Innovative planning, superb design and quality far beyond expectations at this price point. We have 16 units sold and occupied, two more under contract and the community has a buzz and a glow.

We finally have an inventory unit to show (we have been selling as fast as we can build) and I will be having my first open house in many, many months this Sunday from 1-4.

Complete community and sales information can be found at

Thanks again!

Joe Rubin
Associate Broker
Long & Foster Realtors

Cyndy said...

I just noticed that development for the first time the other day and was delighted that they had built something new that was so attractive. You can't tell they are townhouses from Georgia Avenue. I really like that they are in the style of older homes in the area.

Moya K Dittmeier said...

My husband and I moved to the Courts at Woodside late last November and we are so pleased...
the neighborhood is beautiful, access to the Metro and downtown is walkable, and the "pocket community" has a great feel to it.
We are also pleased that our homes "fit" the style of the neighborhood, while also having the updated amenities. Thanks for the good words, Dan!