Student Housing Proposed at Northgate

Early Proposal for 8400 Baltimore AveA 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.

7 thoughts on “Student Housing Proposed at Northgate”

  1. My fightin’ words — to my UMCP employer no less, and to my city of CP — are these: SAY NO TO CARS. Or at least follow the green strategies of many major campuses. Limit the number of cars. Develop economic incentives. Give students discount coupons for Flexcar trips ; Allow parents to subsidize occasional Flexcar rides as they do Terp bucks for food. Give a Route One credit/UMCP credit for live/work proximity.

    We in College Park, and anyone on Route ONE, need to sing this refrain, too.

  2. Is there a well lit hiker-biker trail running north-south on either side of the creek back there behind the property? is it a complete / contiguous stretch from say Seven Springs, south to campus, paralelling the creek/rte 1? what an awesome way to get to campus from all of these plus Maza-Grand Marc. plus, doesnt shuttle UM have a loop?

    would be stunned if neither of these exist.

  3. Yes, the Paint Branch Trail does run directly behind the property and this project would be required to connect to the bridge behind the University View. The trail is lit between the View and campus, but will not be lit between Mazza and campus.

  4. Also – if my memory serves me correctly, the View didnt exactly capitalize on its facade that faces the creek. I seem to recall that it is a concrete wall or the parking decks that face the creek. seems like a missed opportunity. could have been a wall of windows overlooking the creek from a fitness center or lounge or even individual units. i hope the hilton to the south and this project to the north (as well as Mazza) take better advantage of the views facing the creek / woods. we should do a better job of incorporating the few natural attributes that we have. id hate to see another monstrous project with its back to the creek.

  5. Although I agree that ideally considerable parking should not be required because of proximity to the University and public transit, the reality is that in my experience a majority of UMD students still have and drive cars regardless of where they live or how close they are to public transit. Theoretically it is even less necessary for on-campus students to have cars (between FlexCar, the UMD Shuttle routes, public buses, and proximity to metro), but still many, many of them do. Another example is any one of the apartment homes in Old Town that have huge graveled parking lots and 5 or 6 cars, even though these properties are right on the Maryland shuttle line and within walking distance to the metro and flexcar. It seems to me that regardless of public (or university) transit optins, students will still want and drive cars.

  6. when i was a student and living near campus i wanted so badly to not have a car. problem was grocery shopping. if i live in old town how am i to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping at the giant in g’belt without a car? i cant haul all those bags on a bus? forgive me for not knowing what flex car is – that was not available “back in the day” – i will go google it now.

    point is: there needs to be a full service grocery store in downtown CP or east campus or on the cafritz site (or both cafritz and east campus) – we have been saying this for 20+ years now.

  7. I COMPLETELY agree that a grocery store is absolutely necessary for College Park. It’s the one thing I absolutely hate about this area. Ridiculous that we don’t have a place within walking distance to pick up food items other than WaWa and CVS.

    That said, for those students who dont want to have a car- there are several options- taking a cab, for example, to and from the grocery store (I did it in grad school) is cheaper than paying car insurance and gas and for a permit. Flex and/or Zip Car are now both available by the metro and on campus, and perfect for those type of once a week or so trips. There’s also Peapod (Giant) and Safeway, both companies deliver groceries right to you in college park – the delivery charge is minimal compared to gas and parking and insurance. Lastly, there ARE people who bring back groceries on public transit- it takes advance planning, but you can get a little grocery cart thing at the container store, linens n things, etc and it’s not that hard. Least best option and comes with some hassle, but it can be done.

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