The developers behind the Hyattsville Armory Apartments have fleshed out architectural designs for the proposed mixed-use development in the city’s downtown Baltimore Avenue corridor. Hyattsville City Council got a rundown on the new details at is Jan. 22, 2019, meeting. City officials have so far been receptive to the project, but some City Council members noted reiterated during the meeting concerns about affordability, parking and impacts on local schools.
The Hyattsville Armory developers, Washington, D.C.,-based Urban Investment Partners, want to build a 285-unit mixed-use apartment building with 32,000 square feet of retail space on the western edge of the 5300 block of Baltimore Avenue between the Hyattsville Armory Crossover Church and Hamilton Street. The property is currently occupied by a collection of abandoned single-story retail fronts, a derelict taxi facility and a large church, also abandoned.
At the Jan. 22, 2019, meeting UIP Development Associate Mariachiara Baroni reviewed the new details and changes. Most were minor in nature. The overall shape and form of the buildings remains almost identical to the renderings originally released in July 2018. However, several elements have been added, such as castle-like stepped buttresses, crowning embrasure-like design notes, and masonry material that reflect the castle-like architecture of the historic Hyattsville Armory building, which now houses Crossover Church. A slideshow of the proposed architectural design elements to be included in the project can be found here.
During the meeting, Ward Two Councilor Shani Warner said her constituents would be particularly sensitive to impacts on parking in the area. UIP plans to build a 680-space parking garage. 431 of those spaces are reserved for residents of the proposed apartments. 90 of the spaces would be reserved for use by Crossover Church, and 160 spaces would be available to the public in support of the planned retail and commercial space on the ground floor.
Ward Five Councilor Joseph Solomon again raised concerns about affordability. UIP plans to include a number of premium features in its apartment units that raise the asking rents considerably: quartz countertops, USB outlets, stainless steel appliances and under-cabinet lighting. However, responding to Solomon’s concern, Baroni said all the apartment units would be rented at market rates.
“It is something we thought about…the financials of the project don’t really allow for affordable housing, it would make the project on the fence,” said Baroni, responding to Solomon’s concerns.
Further, Prince George’s County, unlike other jurisdictions, has no affordable housing incentive programs or mandates for developers. On the flip side, there is evidence that the abundance of residential rental construction along the Route 1 corridor is having a cooling effect on rents.
Earlier this month, Prince George’s County’s Planning Board approved a preliminary plan of subdivision for the property, a step where property lines are redrawn and consolidated to accommodate new development.
Hyattsville City Council is expected to consider a resolution to support the project at its Feb. 4, 2019, meeting. It’s unknown how the project review process will proceed from there. There is a chance the project could bypass the detailed site plan review process, which would significantly speed up the review and approval process.