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Council Supports Metro Apartment Development, Minus Tax Credit

At the June 11, 2019 meeting, the City Council supported the proposed Metro Apartment project “Artworth”, with some conditions.

Gilbane Development Corporation is requesting an expedited Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) review of a DSP to construct a five-story building with 451 multifamily dwelling units and approximately 5,000 square feet of retail.

According to the Gilbane, the project consists of a 431-unit mixed-use enclave defined by great streets and a vibrant Inter-modal Village Green. Pedestrian and bike friendly one-way vehicular lanes wrap the site, while highly active building frontages on all four sides of the site will ensure constant foot traffic, continuous eyes on the street and no “back side” to the project. The design avoids dead zones (e.g. parking garages exposed to the street) by programming our primary streets with ground level retail and residential units.

The project’s primary street level frontage is activated by 11,884 SF of retail, 23 two-story town home units, 27 live-work loft units and two apartment building residential lobbies.

This is the first application submitted under the College Park-Riverdale Park Transit District Development Plan (TDDP) approved in 2015 and will be the first housing constructed in the transit district.

The site is on WMATA land used as surface parking serving the Metro Station and adjoins a greenway known as the Brooks Parcel also owned by WMATA. The Planning Board hearing is scheduled for June 13, 2019.

Preliminary Plan 4-17009 for the subject site was approved by the Prince George’s County Planning Board on October 19, 2017 with the City’s support and subject to 15 conditions. Some of these conditions are relevant to the DSP review and are discussed in the attached City staff report. Staff recommends approval of the DSP with additional conditions including an Agreement with the Applicant regarding certain site details and payments. Staff also supports 13 out of 14 modifications to the development standards that have been requested since they will not negatively affect the community or the purposes and intent of the TDDP.

Council, however, did not approve of a Resolution granting a City Revitalization Tax Credit due to a disagreement about a condition that would protect the city in the event the property is later sold to a non-taxable entity (such as the University of Maryland). Qualifying projects are eligible to receive a five-year tax credit on the increased assessment attributed to the taxable improvements upon project completion. The maximum tax credit is an amount equal to 75% of the increased assessment of City tax imposed in the first year, 60% in the second year, 45% in the third year, 30% in the fourth year, and 15% in the fifth year. Currently, the properties are assessed at a value of $4,126,700, while the anticipated completion of the Project at the end of 2021 is estimated to increase the total assessment to $81,400,000. Therefore, the total increased assessment would be $77,273,300, which given the City’s current real property tax rate of $.335 per $100 results in a future annual tax bill of $258,865.56 upon completion. Total five year credit is estimated at $582,447.50.

The city’s condition states that the purchaser of the property would be required to make an annual payment equal to the amount being paid to the city by the developer pursuant to any tax abatement or, if no tax abatement is in effect, the annual city real property taxes on the property and any improvements, based on assessed value of the property.

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