Mazza Apparently Dead (AMMENDMENTS ADDED)

It appears that County Councilman Tom Dernoga has Killed the 660 graduate bed Mazza Grandmarc. The conditions he put on the project’s approval today will likely not go over well with Mazza’s investors. Chief among these conditons are:

  • Requiring LEED standards in the 11th hour
  • KICKER: Requiring a site plan approval for the two commercial parcels on the portion of the property fronting Route 1 (before the resident portion could be occupied)

With seemingly no community opposition, the county council has killed the only up and coming student housing project in College Park. Incredible.

–> MAZZA AMMENDMENTS

6 thoughts on “Mazza Apparently Dead (AMMENDMENTS ADDED)”

  1. Every developer in the world will pack his or her bags and go home at some point if local communities and politicians don’t negotiate with them in a way that recognizes the legitimate needs of the developer as well as of the community. I have seen it happen before in other places, and I fear it could happen unnecessarily in our area as well. That isn’t to say that we ever should accept development that isn’t consonant with our priorities. It just means that at a certain point, our community has to accept compromise as well.

    Hofefully, David, your assessment of the impact of Dernoga’s conditions on the Mazza development is premature–although I understand your pessimism. There is a dire need for quality student housing in CP. Students represent a major part of Dernoga’s constituency, and it’s hard to conclude that he is doing everything he can to help this project move forward in any form. There’s still time to fix that.

  2. There is no doubt that graduate students need more and better housing options close to the university, and the university appears to be coming to see how much that matters to its own goals. So it’s disappointing if an opportunity for better graduate student housing is slipping away. But do we know what level of demand there is, and whether Mazza Grandmarc best serves that demand? It is more than 2 miles from campus (http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1063351), it is not within easy reach of walkable amenities, and so it does not make it much easier for graduate students to participate in the community. The university has stated that the student housing in East Campus will primarily serve graduate students, and I imagine that this location would be far more attractive for graduate students (walk to stores, office, the Metro, no car needed). If East Campus brings 1000+ grad student beds online, as has been suggested, then this would put UMd in line with its peers. Does the GSG or some other body have figures on the likely level of demand for local graduate student housing?

    Hopefully the GSG is lobbying to keep graduate student housing as a priority for East Campus, preferably in the initial phase of the project. The draft plans that flashed by at the community meetings in May seemed to indicate that most of the graduate housing might come in the second phase of the project. (Of course, even the earliest phases of this are a few years down the road, so little consolation for current students.)

  3. The GSG is heavily involved in the housing issue (both for Mazza and East Campus). This Mazza debacle is a huge setback for graduate students (who would have gladly ridden the bus as the undergraduate students and UTC do in great numbers to campus). It also sets a terrible precedent for development in College Park (and PG county). There is a huge gap between the ideal (all student housing directly adjacent to campus) and the economic realities and physical constraints of building in CP. There was no justification for killing Mazza and Mr. Dernoga showed his complete disregard for process by pulling the plug so late in the game. I don’t think we’ll ever see another grad housing project that is purely private again.

  4. Can you help me understand: “Requiring a site plan approval for the two commercial parcels on the portion of the property fronting Route 1 (before the resident portion could be occupied)”

    Are we referring to the ramshackle (sp?) looking old wood frame buidlings housing motorcycle/auto parts type establishments (all of the businesses south of the Econo Lodge down to the music store? Are they a part of the project? Would they get demolished? or would they stay and the entrance to the project go through them? Is the County leveraging the Mazza Grandmarc to clean them up?

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