Just in time: Mount Rainier closes $1.5M property sale

Just in time to avoid the possible collapse of the commercial real estate market, the City of Mount Rainier completed the sale of 3200 Rhode Island Avenue for $1.5 million to IFG Group Development and Construction. The property is approximately 33,000 square feet of vacant land the city bought more than 10 years ago for an inflation adjusted $1.1 million. IFG Group plans to build a $30 million mixed-use apartment complex. The transaction was scheduled to complete this past Friday. By Monday, the money had not yet shown up in the city’s accounts, causing some concern.

Mount Rainier sells land to developers; $30M mixed-use project planned

It finally happened: Mount Rainier is selling a key downtown lot to a mixed-use developer for $1.5 million, city officials announced during a March 3, 2020 Council meeting. The buyer, IFG Group LLC, plans to build a $30 million, 110-unit mixed-use development on the site, with a targeted opening date of 2025. 

More than 12 years ago in December 2008, Mount Rainier bought several parcels of land at the intersection of Eastern and Rhode Island Avenues for an inflation-adjusted $1.1 million. The property has mostly sat disused, though there were well-meaning attempts to turn the lots into a pocket park. For years, city officials had hoped to redevelop the land. But impacts from the Great Recession plus the city’s own inexperience in real estate development hampered plans. 

Councilor Luke Chesek said during the meeting that the city learned a lot from its previous failures to sell the land.

Mount Rainier eyes food truck extravaganza for 2020

Mount Rainier is planning a food truck event, perhaps as early as spring. The idea is to use the event to test demand and operational burdens for a potential food truck hub in Mount Rainier. However, the city is still working through the logistics involved with hosting a food truck hub. City officials first toyed with the idea in December 2018, but there remain significant logisitical, procedural and political challenges to address before Mount Rainier becomes a destination for vehicular restaurateurs and gormands. 

Politically, the city’s brick and mortar restaurants aren’t exactly wild about the idea of a food truck hub. Representatives of the Mount Rainier Business Association aired concerns that a food truck hub could bring a competitive burden for the city’s restaurants. 

“We’ve had five restaurants that have failed in Mount Rainier in the last five years, and we have three new restaurants coming up,” said Jimmy Tarlau, representing MRBA, during a discussion of food truck hubs at Mount Rainier City Council meeting Nov.

College Park backs booze for Taqueria Habanero

City officials are favorably disposed to Taqueria Habanero’s plans to serve alcohol at its College Park location. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant could be approved to serve boozy drinks on Baltimore Avenue by late December 2019. 

The restaurant’s application for a Class B Beer Wine and Liquor License was discussed by College Park City Council at its Oct. 22, 2019 worksession. Following a brief discussion, College Park City Council unanimously approved a measure expressing support for the restaurant’s liquor license application, which must be approved by the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners, more commonly known as the Liquor Board. The application goes before the Liquor Board Dec.

New filings reveal College Park Marriott details

A new filing with county planners has revealed more details about a planned Marriott Hotel near College Park’s Metro station. 

Earlier in August, developers filed a preliminary plan of subdivision to redevelop a site at the northwest corner of Campus Drive and Corporal Frank S. Scott Drive in College Park. 

According to those documents, developer Soltesz has filed an application seeking approval of a preliminary plan of subdivision for the project. The has been received by planning staff, after emerging from a pre-acceptance phase of review. Further, a natural resource inventory – a kind of catalogue of the site’s natural elements to be preserved, accommodated or compensated for its removal during development – was filed and later approved by Prince George’s County Planning Department staff in December. New filings now reveal the scale of the proposed development. According to the documents, Soltesz plans to build a 123,400 square-foot hotel and commercial development at the site. 

Additional design details are not known at this time.