Senior apartments to open this week

Officials expected from Walldorf, Germany

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Greater Waldorf Jaycees are rolling out the red carpet this week to welcome local, state and international guests to the grand opening of the Walldorf Astor senior apartments in Waldorf.

The grand opening event will begin at 6 p.m. April 27 with dinner and dancing at the Jaycees community center in Waldorf, said Dick Gregory, president of the Waldorf Jaycees Foundation.

The event continues at 10 a.m. April 28 at the newly constructed Walldorf Astor senior apartments complex on Moses Way at the end of Ell Lane. A luncheon will be served following the dedication of the 96-unit, three-story building that will contain one- and two-bedroom apartments for low-income seniors 55 years and older, Gregory said. The new complex is next to the Jaycees Elderly Apartments on Ell Lane.

The opening of the $13 million complex is the culmination of years of work by the Jaycees, The Ingerman Group and Charles County and state officials, Gregory said.

‘‘This wasn’t just a Jaycees project; it was a community effort,” he said. ‘‘We can’t do these kinds of things ... without the support of the county, state government, the community and the developer. I’m always amazed by what we can do if people are willing to work together to make it happen.”

The new apartment complex was named after Waldorf’s sister city — Walldorf, Germany — and the town’s famous resident, John Jacob Astor, Gregory said. The sister city relationship began in 1997 by the Charles County commissioners and was formalized in June 2001 in Germany.

Various exchanges between the two towns have been ongoing since then, including the presentation of a $25,000 check from Walldorf Mayor Heinz Merklinger and the town’s city council to help Charles County and La Plata recover from the April 2002 tornado.

Earlier this year, the Heidelberg Printing Press Corp., headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, and Atlanta, Ga., partnered with North Point High School and donated a press valued at more than $100,000 to the school, Gregory said.

Merklinger and the Walldorf City Council will be on hand for the two-day grand opening celebration, which will also include a meeting with the Charles County Board of Education, a tour of North Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Merklinger and the council donated a 350-pound bronze bust of John Jacob Astor that will sit on a seven-foot-tall pedestal in the two-story atrium of the Walldorf Astor building, Gregory said. The paved entranceway of the complex is stamped with a configuration of streets in Walldorf, Germany.

Other amenities at the complex include an on-site exercise room, community room, fully equipped kitchen, library, arts and craft room and an outdoor patio, Gregory said.

Seniors must apply to rent a unit, Gregory said, adding the household annual income must range between $18,750 and $42,840 to qualify. Based on income, rent will range from $370 to $770 a month for a one-bedroom apartment to $460 to $835 a month for a two-bedroom unit.

The Ingerman Group, based in New Jersey, has been developing affordable housing for senior citizens for many years, said David Holden, a company spokesman. The company is already looking into the possibility of building another complex in Charles County.

‘‘The Walldorf Astor complex is one of the best projects we’ve developed,” he said. ‘‘The finished product will give seniors a home that they can be proud of. This is going to be as nice or nicer than any market rate complex.”

Charles County commissioners’ President F. Wayne Cooper (D) said the Jaycees are working hard to meet the escalating demand for affordable senior housing in the county.

‘‘I’m very excited about the opening of the Walldorf Astor,” he said. ‘‘It’s pleasing to see the role that the Jaycees are playing in this.”

The Jaycees are already looking into building another affordable apartment complex in the county, Gregory said, adding there are already about 40 rental applications on file for the Walldorf Astor.

The Jaycees Elderly Apartments have a four-year waiting list — proof that the senior citizen population is exploding in the area, Gregory said.

‘‘The reality is that as fast as we build them, there’s a need to build another one,” he said. ‘‘By 2020, the senior population in Charles County is going to triple. We need to start looking at the next project or we’re going to be caught short.”

For information about the Walldorf Astor senior apartments in Waldorf or to request a rental application, call the Ingerman Management Co. at 301-885-1108 or go

E-mail Nancy Bromley McConaty at