Updates from Councilman Catlin

A June 4th comment:

“The City’s parking garage will have its groundbreaking on June 19th. The Mosaic at Turtle Creek condos should be filing its detailed site plan this summer. The Garden Suites Hotel has filed for its building permits. JPI East apartments, townhouses and retail, has applied for its building permits, Mazza GrandMarc Graduate Apartments hopes to begin construction late this year, Northgate condos (owned by Monument Realty) has had some success in appealing an FAA decision that limited its height from the approved 18 stories to only 12 stories. The FAA now says that 15 stories can be built at the site. It may become student housing. Starview student housing is proceeding with a LEED Silver student housing project. Mark Vogel has been able to put Merchant’s Tire under contract to go with other adjoining properties he purchased earlier, to build student housing. Finally, East Campus is working hard to file its preliminary detailed site plan in early July with Park and Planning. Work is proceeding with the County/City on a $180 million bond issue to be financed with a TIF. Other projects are in the early discussion stage, too.”

–> Check the city’s ever-more organized, extensive and detailed Economic Development Update (May) for more.

Dernoga Lets JPI West Through Relatively Unscathed

College Park West - The Jefferson

Just when we were about to post another scathing criticism of County Councilman Tom Dernoga (this time about his hold up of the JPI West project), he let JPI West (aka “The Jefferson”) go forward. After an 11th hour skimming of 20 units off the approved 220 units yesterday, Dernoga let the project proceed relatively intact. Maybe he’s turned a new leaf since Mazza. We know for sure that his misjudgment on that project scared developers away from more than one potential College Park project in his district north of 193. Thanks Mr. Dernoga for seeing the urgent need for College Park revitalization that we do.

Second JPI Project Approved

College Park West - The Jefferson

“The Jefferson” (pictured above), a proposed 220-unit mixed-use project was approved by the PG County Planning Board late last week. The project site is just north of 193 at the former location of Hillcrest Hotel and Lasiks and across Route 1 from JPI’s already approved “Jefferson Square” project (pictured below). The newly approved project will contain 25,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor that will be spread out among three separate spaces. Both JPI projects will include underground parking. Councilman Dernoga is widely expected to “pull” the newly approved project for review (if he hasn’t already) just as he did for Jefferson Square. Taken together, these projects will bring a huge boost to Route 1 and they are the two projects in the corridor that we expect to come to fruition the soonest.

—> Read the Detailed Site Plan

Jefferson Square Condominiums

2/6 City Council Development Coverage

Wednesday night’s City Council Meeting was choc full of development issues. Briefly, here’s what you missed if you didn’t want to brave the cold (or turn on your TV).

–> The council indicated their initial satisfaction of the proposed 220 unit College Park West Development on the Lasik’s site. JPI, the developer, had the blessings of a community group who appreciated JPI’s improved community cooperation since their last project (Jefferson Square) across the street.

Hollywood Station–> The council approved, with some minor conditions, a 4-5 story office building at 9909 Baltimore Ave. The site tucked in an odd place, but we still think it’s a shame it turned out to be such a standard office park and won’t be prominent from Route 1. (kind of like the M-Square project which the city is so quick to criticize). Granted M-Square is adjacent to the metro and the 9909 site is on the beltway.
–> District 1 councilman Krouse (see his letter to the community) tussled with the developers of the massive (we covered it yesterday) Greenbelt Town Centre project at Greenbelt metro station. Many were outraged to hear the potential of a 18 story building and the developer now plans “balloon tests” in the coming weeks to demonstrate the scale of the project to nearby North CP neighborhoods. This new revelation comes after over 7 years of planning. The developers were challenged to find another example in the DC area where a single family home community was subjected to such high density by a WMATA redevelopment.
University View Original Proposal
–>Otis Warren of the University View came in for a chat over a number of things. He repeated his intention to complete the project as originally proposed (see image to the right) although he’s holding out the possibility that the building proposed for the grassy area in front of the University View may end up being more student housing or a hotel instead of the originally proposed office building. He guessed about 350 student beds could fit in the project should it go forward. Retail would still front Route 1 on the ground floor.
Warren expressed surprise that the council had reservations about his proposed 12-story condo at 8400 Baltimore Ave given their friendly reception to it in December. He also disclosed a failed deal with the university to build a garage and grad school housing on campus on lot 11 directly behind the View. While not binding, the campus master plan envisions that lot for a mega parking garage.
We’ll defer to the Diamonback’s article about a number of interesting quotes on this and other topics, which some at the meeting probably didn’t want reprinted.

City Council Covers Development Tonight at 8pm

Tonight, the city council will mull over 3 major projects (of the 20 or so that are coming) to College Park. We haven’t previously covered any of these, so here is a brief preview:

  • Presentation by developer on College Park West Detailed Site Plan
    • Proposed 220 multifamily housing units & 25,00 S.F. of retail (Map) on the former site of Lasik’s Restaurant and Hillcrest Hotel. The lot is a huge 4 acres. Lasik’s was a locally run restaurant and liquor store which fell victim to arson in December 2004. Hillcrest Hotel reportedly rented rooms by the hour before it was closed by the State Attorney in July 2003 and torn down in October 2005.
  • Review of Preliminary Plan of Subdivision for Branchville Road (PDC Campfire)
    • 300 Condominiums and 7800 S.F. of retail (here)

On a seperate note, we’d like to commend the city on vast improvements to their website. If information is public, but isn’t online, it basically doesn’t exist. If information is online but inaccessible, it basically doesn’t exist. This much more logical layout will hopefully help the city government be more responsive to its citizens. Also, it doesn’t hurt so much to look at it anymore.