College Park Council nixes tax break for Metro Apartments; Gives conditional support for plans

College Park City Council voted to conditionally support plans for a proposed 450-unit apartment building near the city’s Metro Station. But citing disagreement with developers over proposed development concessions, Council also declined to consider an economic development tax credit application builder Gilbane Development Corp. sought from city officials. 

The matter now heads before the Prince George’s County Planning Board at its June 13 meeting. College Park City Council’s support of the development is contingent upon several conditions that Gilbane officials object to. They include a commitment to maintain street furniture and other improvements built as part of the project along River Road, and funding commitments for public art and bicycle and pedestrian enhancements.

Route 1 Metro property could become parkland

A six-acre tract of wooded, Metro-owned land next to Riverdale Park Station has been taken off the market to potentially be preserved as green space. In January, WMATA officials revealed plans to sell the land as  part of its surplus land sale effort to unload vacant land it owns to developers. The Calvert Hills Civic Association in College Park issued a letter opposing the sale and urging local governments to purchase the property. Metro’s price for the land was estimated to be between $2 million and $2.5 million. The property was listed by NAI Michael. 

The land itself is a narrow strip under which Metro’s Green Line tunnels between the Prince George’s Plaza Metro and the College Park Metro stations.

A long, four-story mixed-use apartment building stretches into the distance in an architectural rendering.

First look: College Park Metro apartment plans revealed

Plans to build 440 apartments next to College Park Metro Station are taking shape as the project moves through the final development review process. And, well, let’s just say it’s a long building. 

The project is part of a concerted effort by Metro to develop the land around its stations into mixed-use activity zones. The hope is such density will foster increased ridership. The project is being developed by Gilbane Development Co., a Rhode Island-based real-estate investment firm. 

Designs call for a 650-foot wide structure to accomodate the 440 units planned for the site. The plans call for a five-story, 440-unit apartment building with 13,00 square-feet of commercial space.

In their own words: Crumbling WSSC building a bad neighbor

This coming Monday, Prince George’s County District Council will decide the fate of a rezoning proposal to allow residential development on the site of the abandoned WSSC headquarters in central Hyattsville. It has become one of the most-divisive development proposals in Hyattsville’s recent memory, becoming a dominant theme in the recent city elections. Opponents of the redevelopment plan claimed a victory in that election when Danny Schaible, an outspoken opponent of the proposal won 52.6 percent of his ward’s electorate, defeating opponent Emily Strab, who was in favor of the development plans for the building. In advance of that decision, Route 1 Reporter spoke with several Hyattsville residents who live next-door to the WSSC headquarters and support the Werrlein proposal. Full disclosure: one of them, Will Seath, was also the campaign treasurer for Strab.

A photo, taken from the center lane of the Baltimore Avenue-slash-Route 1 corridor looking directly south from the intersection of Oglethorpe Street and Baltimore Avenue, shows an urban vista. The green hills of Bladensburg are in the far distance, set against a cloudy evening sky and above a ribbon of roadway. Nearer to the photographer, an urban streetscape reveals row-houses and mid-rise commercial buildings south of Madison Street set against tree-lined sidewalks. Light traffic is seen on the roadway.

Hyattsville weighs affordable housing programs

Lacking a county-wide program to incentivize affordable-housing development, Hyattsville might create its own using about the only tools it has: municipal property tax breaks and dedicated city funding. 

Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth is sponsoring two measures before City Council that address affordable housing. The most-notable is a measure directing city staff and attorneys to craft municipal legislation offering property tax credits to developers who pledge to build or preserve long-term affordably-priced housing units. The other would create a city fund, fueled by developer impact fees, a portion of which would be dedicated to “affordable housing” in some yet-to-be defined manner. 

The measures were discussed at Hyattsville City Council’s April 1 meeting. If they eventually become law – and this City Council seems broadly receptive to the idea – Hyattsville would be in pioneering territory. No similar program in Prince George’s County exists – though one once did.