A condominium project first proposed in December 2006 by area developer Otis Warren is moving forward, and this time it seems possible it will be developed with students in mind. The project, located at 8400 Baltimore Avenue, will contain 300 residential units, 14,000 square feet of retail, and a 4-story 421 space parking garage. These are the same numbers from when we posted a very rough rendering in February. According to our sources, although the city has a number of complaints regarding aesthetics, they supported the concept that it could become student housing at their meeting earlier this month. If built, the building could result in as many as 900 to 1,000 student beds. The condo market has softened significantly in recent months and many projects in the Washington region have moved from condos to rental units.
Issues raised during the city’s consideration of the detailed site plan at their meeting earlier this August included the infamous rules about whether the building’s facade had enough brick, the fact that the proposed building’s lot coverage exceeds the maximum and is set back 8 feet farther than the build-to line, and quibbling about the applicant’s traffic and parking exemption calculations.
We think this project illustrates one of the biggest problems with the M-U-I overlay zone: the excessive parking requirement. Cities as diverse as Ithica, New York, San Francisco, and Arlington County, Virginia have had the courage to question the parking dogma and build buildings with no — or very little — parking, especially when located near transit. Rental housing near the university on Route One should contain less parking than the zone currently requires.
The Prince George’s County Planning Board Hearing on the plan has been scheduled September 20th.