Author Archives: sandye

Mr. Blumberg’s Luxury Apartments

monopoly-houses-small.jpgAt Monday’s University Park town council meeting, Developer Marvin Blumberg, his attorney and landscape architect presented their most recent plans for the 34-acre Landy Property at Belcrest Road behind Northwestern HS. This is one big elephant.

A previous post provides a solid project description, but new, expanded or clearer information provided at the meeting is covered below. Please note that the Landy Staff Report (issued July 3) is now available for fun holiday reading and this uses a different number of units than mentioned in this recent meeting. Blumberg requested a continuance from the Planning Board, it is possible that 7/26 will be the new hearing date.

  • Upon completion 1262 one and two bedroom luxury apartments (presenters were unclear about any 3 bedroom units, county regs. would require these to be condo units) with 2000 bedrooms.
  • To ensure luxury, Mr. Blumberg’s most used descriptor, the entire property is to be fenced (no more than five feet high) and gated at three access points. The main access would be on Belcrest Rd. with another one onto Northwest Drive and a third, tradespersons only, access onto Dean Drive.
  • Mr. Blumberg does not think this development will attract folks with children. To further allay concerns about school overcrowding, he consented to set aside one third of the units for students and folks 55 and older.
  • The visual impact of Landy Project’s seven 16 story glass, steel and reinforced concrete towers will be huge, especially from Adelphi Rd. The Landy towers are about the same height as the University Town Center student suites, on Belcrest Road across from Target. To get a sense of size and scope of the Landy towers try to visualize seven UTCs in close proximity!

Most University Park council members’ questions covered school overcrowding concerns which Mr. Blumberg’s attorney assured us was an issue they have heard and sympathize with, but really they have very limited means to do anything about. Continue reading

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Filed under Developers, Events, Hyattsville, Landy Property, Planning, Schools

Shopping List for the Cafritz Property

The following are my thoughts and some background on the Cafritz property that I’ve put together and may or may not represent the situation. We will learn more on Saturday but this will give those interested a little briefing on the property and some of the issues before the meeting.

Background
The original property was a little less than 50 acres. There was a residence in the center of the property and temporary housing was built during WW II. All this has been removed.

The property is bordered to the north by Albion, to the east by the rail line to the south by the National Guard and postal facility (a leg extends around the back between the postal facility and the rails) and finally on the west by Route 1. Thirteen acres along Albion were bought by Metro to build the tunnel which runs under this edge and comes out to grade at the northeast corner.

It is safe to assume the thirteen acre Metro parcel will be repurchased by Cafritz so the development rights can be used even if parts of the property could not be built on.

The underlying zoning for all the property is single family residential. It could be developed by right with housing on lots that would look much like University Park. This would yield somewhere between 170 and 220 single family houses depending on whether the WMATA property could be built on.

The Cafritz team has signaled that they are looking at a development program that would be different from the by-right option and thus would go through a public review as part of the County approval process. Continue reading

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Filed under Cafritz Property, Calvert Hills, Developers, Growth, Riverdale Park, Roads, Schools, University Park

Smart Growth Close to Home?

A small group of area residents met recently to discuss concerns about the possible impacts (increased traffic, crowded schools and environmental concerns) of the new residential and retail developments being planned for our immediate area. Besides the EYA townhouses and shops under construction in Hyattsville there are three other development projects in the works. One is a 1,160 unit apartment building in the process of getting permit approval to be built on Belcrest Rd. abutting Northwestern HS. Next, the University of Maryland is proposing a major redevelopment on the southeast corner of Route 1 and Paint Branch Parkway that will include graduate and undergraduate housing, restaurants, and retail. As the University project is only in the planning stages no specific information is available, but the University does envision a dense urban type usage. Last, is the proposed development of the Cafritz property across Route 1 from University Park of which there is no specific information at this point.

It goes without saying these developments would increase the population density of our immediate area; more cars, more pollution and more school crowding—we are part of the county’s urban tier. While not being against development it is this group’s hope that our government agencies take into account the scope of these projects when they make decisions about which ones will proceed, in what form and what amenities the developers could give back to the communities (for example, free shuttle bus service to Metro, green buffer zones, etc.) for being allowed the privilege of building here. Just because some of these sites are close to Metro doesn’t mean that congestion won’t increase.
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Filed under Growth