Idle speculation: US-1 edition

Some people watch “House Hunters” for hours on end, and others peruse Curbed to imagine themselves inside huge mansions. Personally, I’m partial to idly imagining what could happen with those quirky old buildings that show up on the commercial listings.

College Park US1
(Baltimore Avenue looking south from College Park towards Hyattsville and Riverdale Park)

4415 Oliver Street, a two story house turned office just off Route 1 in the Hyattsville Arts District could be renovated into a version of the Form Follows Finance Fourplex. (It might even qualify for a conforming residential renovation mortgage.) It has the right live-work zoning, which is surprisingly scarce in downtown Hyattsville. At $350K for 1800′, it’s cheaper than nearby houses–around the corner, the same $350K only buys you a 1200′ house. OK, so it might only fit 2-3 units instead, but still a good price for someone with some architectural ingenuity. Indeed, it even pencils as a teardown.

An interesting Opportunity Zone play nearby: a 33 acre strip mall at the doorstep of the future Riverdale Park-Kenilworth Purple Line station (one stop from UMd’s research park) is for sale, though probably for a high price. The new, but as-yet unmapped TOD zones in Prince George’s give very wide latitude to its future owner.

Elsewhere in Riverdale Park, there’s a <2 acre residential tract for sale. Looks at first glance like an interesting pocket neighborhood opportunity ( close to downtown Hyattsville! might be able to do something unusual with the street ROW!)–but even the brand-new zoning code only allows large-ish single-family houses there. Blah.

In other news, Forest Glen‘s Castle is back on the market at $2.8 million. I have zero ideas for it; after reading about the place, I’m utterly unable to picture it as anything other than “the Hungarian Whorehouse.”

After those cheers, some (more) jeers for Fairfax County. This vacant quarter-acre lot on Richmond Highway, which appears to be a leftover from a prior subdivision, looks at first glance like a prime chance for a residential scale live/work-plex. But no: “Highway Commercial” zoning doesn’t allow residential by the 7-11 and Five Guys, even though the local sector plan calls for three-story mixed-use. Instead, it would require apartment (or PUD!) zoning… which requires a 2.5 acre minimum lot area, because this is the suburbs. OK, so technically that MLA doesn’t apply in redevelopment areas like Richmond Highway, but c’mon Fairfax, it’s the 21st century, individual vertical mixed-use buildings exist.

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