Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Four Years Later, Arts District at Hyattsville Chugs Along


Hyattsville in PG County is not exactly the center of "urban chic" in the DC Metro area, but a mixed-use project, lead by EYA with retail by StreetSense, is vying to stake a claim to being Maryland's H Street. Most of the residential in the West Village, the first phase of the Arts District at Hyattsville that began in 2006, has sold. After several years of threatening to do so, the development team this month broke ground on the retail element of the second phase, the East Village, and has signed on tenants: Tara Thai, Busboys and Poets and, most recently, Yes! Organic Market. Construction on the one-story retail element is scheduled to begin in earnest in May and to complete by fall 2010 with occupancy in late 2010 or spring 2011; construction on the East Village residential element is expected to begin late this year.

The $200 million Arts District is a new, 25-acre residential neighborhood off of Route 1 in PG County (a.k.a. Rhode Island Avenue in D.C.), just two miles from the District border and two miles from the University of Maryland. Jack McLaurin, a Principal at Lessard Group architects, said his firm tried to create a "depot main street architecture" for the project, hearkening back to old railroad towns, since a railroad line runs along the property. Lessard "tried to funk it up" to make the new project look like "someone had come in and revitalized an area that had been there for a long time." Faux adaptive reuse?

The project is delivering in two phases: the West and East Villages (i.e. East or West of Route 1). The West Village includes 132 townhouses, 10 of which are live-work space for artists, and the rehabilitated Lustine showroom, which serves as a community center with an art gallery and gym. Aakash Thakkar, a Vice President at EYA, said 102 of the residential units are settled, most are built, and the team "hopes to have it sold and completed by the end of 2010." To put it in perspective, sales began on the West Village in 2006.

The East Village will include 41,000 s.f. retail, 275 multi-family units and 183 townhouses. The project originally was to have fewer multi-family units, but EYA recently received approval from the Prince George's County Planning Board to add an additional 198 units in one, four-story building and to reduce by 21 the number of townhouses. Thakkar said at this time EYA has not decided whether the multi-family units will be rental or condos and that construction on the three buildings will not begin until early next year. The townhouses, however, should start sales as early as this April, with construction set to begin in the 3rd quarter of this year.

McLaurin said the West Village has more of an art deco feel than the updated design for the East village, where the team simplified the design to reduce costs. "No vinyl siding" the architect assured DCMud, but "we tried to work with interesting color combination with the brick and hardie panel." The multi-family buildings are broken up to look like a series of taller townhouses, and to keep with the depot idea, the multi-family buildings have space for ground floor retail or artists work spaces, with "larger window patterns" and "doors on ground level units." McLaurin said he wanted to create a "distinct" feel, so that people would know they were not in "anywhere U.S.A."

Guy Silverman, Managing Principal at StreetSense, said his company is the majority owner on the retail, but has been working closely with EYA so that the two developers are "very aligned...in terms of how we envision the Arts District." Silverman said this will be the first location for both Yes! Organic Market and Busboys and Poets and that the choice of Hyattsville "speaks volumes" about the project and the developers' efforts to create an urban neighborhood feel. Tara Thai is also signed on, bringing the total spoken-for retail space to 60%. StreetSense is now looking tenants like a yoga studio, a drop off dry cleaners, a small spa or maybe even an organic pet food store to fill the remaining space.

Hyattsville real estate development news

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too bad they were not able to acquire the laundromat and its parking in the middle of their new village. The sooner they turn that part of Rt 1 back into a road and not a gravel path, the better

Anonymous said...

Its a good project but I hope the townhouses on the east side are less "funky" than those on the west. I was thinking about buying there, but couldn't get over the architecture.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this profile. I live here, and I love it. We moved to Metro DC in 2007 and looked in all the obvious places before settling on this project. It's a comfortable mix of the best of DC - easy access to transit and all the city offers - combined with a strong neighborhood and community feel.

I do like the architecture, but what's more EYA builds solid houses. As someone who has always lived in older homes, I was worried about moving into new construction - but it's really quite a nice house.

Anonymous said...

Sorry shiller, I've been in EYA built homes before, if you think they're solid, you're either selling them or don't know much about construction. EYA homes are universal in their design, and not expensively built. They stand up, but there is NO craftsmanship in the whatsoever, it is standard Home Depot construction.

Donald James on Mar 24, 2010, 9:45:00 AM said...

I can't wait until the Busboy's is finished. There's alot of potential in this area. I'm just glad to have somewhere cool close to home to go to and not have to travel into DC all the time.

Anonymous said...

Shaun, is it too difficult for you to type out "Prince George's County?"
I grew up 1 mile north of this development, so I know the area very well. It's sad that the county has allowed the builders to use cheaper materials for the impending development on the east side of 1, but it's better than acres of parking lots and asphalt. They tore down two neat old buildings on 1 right at the intersection of Jefferson Street (one was the old 2-storey Hyattsville Bowling Alley) which would have been awesome for re-use.
I just wish there was a way to get a Metro station near here, or even a street car running along side the railroad tracks...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the street car: dc will hopefully build out the RI line. You just need to convince MD to connect to it.
http://ddot.washingtondc.gov/ddot/cwp/view,a,1250,q,636429,ddotNav_GID,1746,ddotNav,|34060|.asp

Anonymous said...

why do pg country residents get flustered when people say pg?
do you also spell out District of Columbia or United States of America?

Anonymous said...

"why do pg country residents get flustered when people say pg?"

Are you too lazy or simple that you can't pronounce 3 syllables: Prince George's? It's a lovely name, and should be spoken. No one says AA or MoCo for Anne Arundel and Montgomery, yet those have four (4!!!!) syllables. As a native Prince Georgian, I'm tired of people in the District or other counties snickering and calling us PG, as if we're the poor red-headed step-children.

Anonymous said...

Also, YES, I do spell out "the District," and "the United States," as it is improper in formal writing to use abbreviations. You wouldn't write that you visited VA or MD.

Ken on Mar 25, 2010, 5:52:00 PM said...

For the record, we often use "DC", and yes, sometimes even "MoCo". No offense is intended.

John on Mar 26, 2010, 8:42:00 AM said...

Anyone know if the developers are following through on the commitment to build a multi-user trail along the trolley right of way (between the east side development and the RR tracks)? The plan is/was to connect the trail via Riverdale to the College Park Trolley Trail.

Timothy on Mar 26, 2010, 11:39:00 PM said...

PG in this case isn't pejorative, I'm sure. I've called MoCo- MoCo before. I'm from HoCo. I tell people all the time that I'm from the DC area. I love that it's the District of Columbia. The two letters "P" and "G" sound similar and when put together is rather catchy. It's what people do. There's just some who will put down a place that happens to be the most affluent majority minority county in the nation- what can you do? I'm glad you care enough about where you're from to get into spats over the name, though :)

I swear every time there's an EYA post there's someone saying how quality they are and someone else saying how they use cheap materials. If they are so cheap, prove it. Tell me how they won builder of the year last year and are so terrible at the same time. I'd like to know. That being said, I wish they were continuing the funky angles and some of the more expensive aesthetics on the other side of Baltimore Ave.

EYA is still planning on connecting the hiker-biker trail. And as a resident here, I'm hopeful that we can convince MD to eventually extend the RI Ave (sorry, Rhode Island Avenue) streetcar line into Maryland. I think that it would serve the area well if the line extended to UMD.

Jim on Mar 27, 2010, 8:43:00 PM said...

I've been in the EYA homes and they are very nice. If there is cheap material, I guess we will see as they age. This area is about to boom. If it's a house you want with a yard, there are plenty of them available as well in all shapes and sizes. We are an awesome community - check out hyattsvillewiki.com and see for yourself. Also, I know people don't think it's a big deal, but I'm from Prince Georges County and I cringe everytime someone says PG. So, even if you don't think it's a big deal, there are those of us who do, so be polite and say Prince Georges. It's not all about you.

Anonymous said...

Having been in a few of the West townhouses, I can affirm that they are gorgeous on the inside. And everyone we've met over there is very friendly. We live a few blocks away, so I am super excited about this new community.

I really hope they get an organic pet store (a la Big Bad Woof in Takoma Park) in there - the neighbors and I are constantly saying how frustrating it is to have to drive past College Park to get to dog food.

(And for the record about saying "PG County" - I've lived here for years and could care less.)

Anonymous said...

One aspect to this development I haven't heard discussed is energy efficiency and renewable alternatives. With all the earth moving going on now, it would seem adding some kind of geo-thermal applications would have been very desirable. I know the cost even with projected savings makes it a hard sell. It often seems we are slaves to wildly profitable energy corporations who have a done a good job convincing us that we can't afford the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

UGHHH...the PG County vs. Prince George's County debate rages on. Who Cares! People say DC all the time. And no, people don't say AA County all the time, but they do say Arundel County for short quite frequently. I live in PG County and quite frankly, the people who wring their hands over this need to stop being so hyper-sensitive.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I visited here yesterday and were very impressed with the complex. For those that actually live in townhomes, how do you like it? We would be moving in November/December 2011.

Anonymous said...

Correction to above post:

For those that live in EYA townhomes, what is your take on the neighborhood?

 

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