Construction of Flats, a 317-unit building of affordable apartments will begin this spring and finish by early 2026.
Courtesy of RST Development

Developers of a 317-unit affordable apartment building on Baltimore Avenue said they expect to start construction as soon as April. 

Flats at College Park will stand on Route 1 between Delaware and Cherokee streets, where the Days Inn and Red Roof Inn were demolished in February. With the aging hotels gone, RST Development of Rockville is preparing the plot to begin construction.

“It’s a redevelopment of some motels that weren’t necessarily a shining light along the Route 1 corridor,” RST Development Vice President Danny Copeland said.

Copeland said the new property will revitalize the community while putting the space to better use with affordable housing for low-income tenants.

Flats, which is not a student housing project, will offer two- and three-bedroom apartments with monthly rents based on income. The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program will subsidize the apartments and has strict rules about who can qualify to live there. According to Copeland, households that make between 50% to 80% of the area median income are the target applicants for the units. 

In College Park, the median income was $76,973 between 2018 and 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The federal government requires developers under this program to maintain income-based rents for at least 15 years.

District 1 City Councilmember Alan Hew said College Park is looking to use similar tax credits to increase affordable housing stock throughout the city. 

However, Hew expressed concern that Flats, along with a concentration of recently built townhomes and other proposed developments nearby, will create heavy traffic on Cherokee Street. 

Kate Kennedy, a District 1 resident and former city councilmember, agreed.

“For the most part, people were OK with the project,” Kennedy said. “They liked the affordable housing aspect of it. … But I think they’re concerned about traffic in and out of the neighborhood. … The idea is that we want as much traffic on Route 1 as possible and as little traffic in the neighborhoods.” 

During construction, however, most of the work will be on Delaware and Cherokee streets to keep congestion away from Route 1, Copeland said.

Hew said this project will offer employees of the University of Maryland, the Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville and NASA in Greenbelt affordable housing close to work.

Flats will be equipped with a pool, playground, dog park, café, fitness center and parking garage. 

Zoning rules require the development to feature 4,000 square feet of commercial space, so  Meals on Wheels of College Park will move to the building’s street-level floor at no cost.

A few years ago, the non-profit relocated to Riverdale Park after 45 years in the city. 

“Delivering meals to those that need it – that’s their mission,” Copeland said. “We’re here creating affordable housing. … So those two missions … together kind of seem to jibe pretty well to us,” Copeland said.

Copeland said the developer anticipates completing the project by the end of 2025 or early 2026.