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Old 10-13-2011, 02:54 PM
242 posts, read 585,444 times
Reputation: 57


We are trying to find some reasonably priced apartments in Columbia Mall area, just to take advantage of the commuter bus services to Downtown Baltimore.

The region of interest is actually along Little Patuxent Pkwy between Governor Warfiled Pkwy and Vantage point road. My wife wanted to have walking distance to the 310/320 commuter bus stops and I could sometimes also take 915/929 down to Silver Spring.

So she did a few search and found pretty much only two places that are within 0.5 miles of those two stops (the two intersections I mentioned above). We r shooting for a 2br for less than 1300

1. Berkshire, but judging from my quick search and the 49% recommendation rate on Aptratings.com, I think it's out of our choices.

2. Watermark condo. I actually did not find any pricing info on this one and hope anyone who has some info to suggest. Area, safety and price.

3. Cross Fox Condo. This one is just by the side of wild lake middle school, but it's about 1.5 miles away from the Columbia mall and the bus stops. They do have a Howard county bus stop goes to the mall tho. So my question for this property is: how's the safety around? Walkable or not? And is it possible to drive the car and park at the mall in the morning for my wife's bus ride or any park n ride lot close by?

Thanks a lot.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:24 PM
332 posts, read 1,161,727 times
Reputation: 108
Did you look at Columbia Town Center and Grammercy? Not sure about the price but I think it would meet your distance criteria? Are you choosing the mall because of bus transportation or because it is pretty walkable and there is a lot there. The Berkshire apts are pretty nice at least the renovated ones that I saw were nic but they clearly do not trust their resident, have you visited? When we went the lady locked a couple inside while she gave a tour to another group. That told me enough information.

Did you check out Elkridge? Also, I thought there was a bus that went from the Harpers Choice and the Route 40 are Normandy and to Baltimore. This would open up other areas for you and more apts. in Harpers Choice, Hickory Ridge and Ellicott City.

I would probably choose Cross Fox Condo but I do not know much about Watermark. I think you will be fine at any of these places however you will have, mainly, petty crime around the Mall and Little Patuxent. You also have some subsidized housing near Cross Fox. There are sometimes more troubling crime such as robberies most of these happen on the paths or near Little Patuxent and some other parts of town. Overall I consider Columbia safe and you should not have any problems but at the end of the day petty crime and even robberies happen in all of the more densily populated areas of HC.

Other suggestion - not too far from Berkshire is the Avalon of Fairway Hills properties, there are about 3 of them. Also Avalon Symphony Woods. You might be able to rent townhome or condo for that price in the area as well.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:18 PM
242 posts, read 585,444 times
Reputation: 57
Thanks so much for the reply. Yes we chose that area simply because that region has two common stops for both 310 (to baltimore) and 915/929 (to silver spring). My wife (a 3 months new I95 driver) complaint constantly about the driving, and wanted to have access to public transportation. And I got some subsidy if going to work by public transportation, so we are thinking about move to that area specific.

We haven't checked the Grammacy or Berkshire in person, but we did go to Cross fox and the mall last Saturday. 929 actually has stops in walking distance, but the 310/320 would be in the mall (1.3 mile away). That's why I was asking if there's park n ride in the Mall or somewhere closer than snowden park n ride (310 has stops there)

Price wise, in cross fox we might be looking at <$1200 for 2bd places (but have to pay all utilities), are you saying it's possible to rent a condo in Germacy or those fancy townhouse community adjacent to the mall?

We ruled out evergreen/Grammacy/Columbia town center just because of the rent range shown on their website, it's closer to the $1400. How could I find info on those rental (townhouses or condos) put out by owners? I assume those pretty townhouses were mostly individually owned.

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Old 10-13-2011, 07:27 PM
242 posts, read 585,444 times
Reputation: 57
A closer look, Avalon symphony woods in the only one that's considered walkable to our region of interest (0.8 mile to the mall), but only 33% of the recommendation rate on apartmentratings, and also it's about $1400 for a 2bd place. Other Avalon are about 2 miles away.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:50 PM
332 posts, read 1,161,727 times
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Does the buses go to the Broken Land Park and Ride? I know the DC buses go thru there but not sure about the Baltimore buses. If they do you might be better off driving there vs. living close to town center. I also think you might be able to find some better rentals as you move further away from town center.

I do think that there is parking near Sears for those catching the bus.

I would go see the apts and not rely on the aparement ratings some of the ratings are managed via the apt. complexes. When I looked it was clear that management was writing the reviews because some of the worse complexes had the best review. When I looked at Symphony woods most of the complaints were about concert goers. That may have changed, be aware that most of the apt. complexes have complaints about bugs in the summer on the 1st floor. Most of the apt. complexes are fairly wooded so there are often insects. It was not a big problem for us and we were on the the first floor at a different complex. Next issue is crime, petty crime such as break-ins happen all of over the Howard County complexes. Unfortunatley, it is unavoidable. The better lit, less secluded areas in the apt. complexes tend to have less of an issue. Unfortunately, Columbia has high rent and very few great apt. complexes.

If you and your spouse is coming and going in the daytime then I doubt they would have an issue walking to any of the complexes. There are sometimes robberies alone the paths in Town Center and Little Patuxent not sure if they are random or targeted. I see plenty of people using the buses so I doubt your wife would be the only one walking and thus would not have a problem. However, I would not do that walk alone, as a female after dark. I doubt the two of you would have a problem even in the dark but I'm risk averse.
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