HYATTSVILLE – When there is talk of development in the city of Hyattsville, the western end most times slips into the shadows, but it may soon be time for West Hyattsville to shine.
Last week the Hyattsville City Council heard a presentation from Hogan Companies on the company’s plan to develop a parcel of land adjacent to the West Hyattsville Metro. The plan would utilize the space for both residential and commercial development and give new use to a property that has long awaited redevelopment.
The 18.5-acre property, nestled between the Kirkland Apartments and the West Hyattsville Metro Station, was part of an initial 2006 vision and will be called the Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro, said Bobby Gilbane, who is a co-owner and co-developer of the site.
“We’ve been working on the site diligently to move forward a vision of West Hyattsville (Transit District Overlay Zone [TDOZ]) that was first contemplated back in 2006,” Gilbane said. “We believe that we put together a great plan that’s going to help activate an area that is quite deserving.”
James Chandler, the assistant city administrator, said the city has waited quite a while for development at the western Metro station and the topic has often come up in council conversations.
The city also recently posted a new topic for discussion on its new “Speak Up Hyattsville” website asking residents what type of businesses they would like to see in West Hyattsville.
The Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro is partially adapted from a plan previously approved by the county and city in 2006, said Mike Sponseller from Hogan Companies.
“It was a much larger project,” he said. “It was a response to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Request for Proposal (RFP) for redevelopment of the Metro station. That project stalled and this piece of property ended up back on the market.”
Sponseller said the group is working independently of WMATA, but is sharing information with the agency. The parcel of land directly behind the station that lies between the Metro stop and the proposed new development belongs to WMATA, which has yet to put it up for a RFP.
Despite the fact that the 18.5 acres will, as of now, be the only parcel from the original plan undergoing new development, Sponseller said the group would create the subdivision in a way that will encourage future connectivity.
The preliminary plan calls for 185 townhomes of varying sizes in both three and four-stories. The homes will line curved streets that will align with streets already in the Kirkwood complex, though they will not meet due to a barrier between the properties. The estimated sale cost of one of the homes is between $300,000 and $400,000, but will rise with the market, Gilbane said.
Three hundred apartments or multifamily dwellings are planned for the southeastern portion of the plot. The buildings will house underground parking as well as first-floor shops and amenities. Sponseller said the developers anticipate nearly 10,000 square feet of retail space.
“On the 4.2-acre parcel that separates us from the river – that’s the parcel that was donated from our parcel back in the mid 1950s – we’re now working with parks and rec to the means of exercising a lot of parklands improvements there,” Sponseller said.
The group currently plans to improve the trails near the waterfront, add lighting and benches as well as create a community plaza and additional “pocket parks.”
Sponseller said the development team is still in talks with the ownership of Kirkland Apartments about connecting the inner streets of both properties but said, as of now, there is only one entrance onto the property across the Metro tracks.
That, as well as the parking prospects, is a concern for Councilman Patrick Paschall. He asked how much parking would be available to new homeowners and the retailers.
The development team does not have official numbers for parking spaces, but said the apartment and retail buildings will have underground parking, the townhomes will have one or two car garages, and there is anticipated street parking.
Councilman Edouard Haba said the city is excited to see the plans for the West Hyattsville Metro come to life. He said, after seeing the first plan and the plan before the council now, he is happy there have been some changes.
“There have been a lot of improvements from the first design. We saw and we see the added commercial space. I see the open space that we can use as a community,” he said. “I see that there is a reception on your end and that things are moving. So, I can just say that we are excited.”
Although Chandler and Gilbane said West Hyattsville is ripe for development, this particular project is not expected to break ground until sometime next year after the details have been analyzed by Hyattsville’s planning committee, the city council and later the Prince George’s County Planning Board.
Tom Haller, the zoning attorney for the developers, said the development is expected to file its preliminary plan of subdivision and an infrastructure detailed site plan within the next few weeks for preliminary review from the planning department.
“Because of the project’s location near the Metro station, we’re eligible for the expedited transit oriented development procedures,” Haller said, explaining that the group did not have to create a conceptual site plan.
Haller said it should take the planning department a month to review and accept the application, after which the department will take 60 days to review the plans before they go before the county planning board.
He estimates infrastructure work, such as tearing down the existing building, will begin summer of next year, which will be around the same time they submit the full detailed site plan for the subdivision.