Over the past several months, developers proposed plans for two new projects to build market-rate apartments and retail space in the Town of Riverdale Park

A conceptual rendering of The Lofts at Riverdale Park,
A conceptual rendering of The Lofts at Riverdale Park, as viewed from the northeast
Courtesy of Romero Architects, LLC and Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects, Inc.

The Chambers Funeral Home property

In September, Al-Kareem Properties LLC purchased the Chambers Funeral Home and Crematorium property at 5801 Cleveland Avenue, near DeMatha Catholic High School and the townhouses at the Arts District Hyattsville, for $2.5 million. 

At the Sept. 7 Riverdale Park Mixed-Use Town Center (MUTC) Local Design Review Committee meeting, RAZ Development presented its preliminary plans to redevelop the property into a five-story, mixed-use building. The project currently includes approximately 148 apartments, 3,900 square feet of retail space and an underground parking garage.

At the meeting, architect Jeff Goins of PGN Architects in Washington, D.C., shared some initial renderings, which showed a brick building with curved balconies overlooking a plaza at the corner of Madison Street and Cleveland Avenue that would add a unique, but complimentary, design to the area. Members of the development team emphasized that the building would serve as a gateway to the town and that the design focused on a human-scale, pedestrian experience.

The initial plans feature a plaza, which would provide a community space and could include seating for the ground floor retail space and lobby to the apartments, accessible from the plaza.

The housing would consist of a mix of unit sizes, from studios to three-bedroom apartments. Some residences would include recessed balconies. While the plan proposes five stories, the fifth floor would be set back and less visible from the street.

There are plans for additional amenities for residents, including an interior courtyard, additional common areas on the ground floor and top floor, and a bike room in the garage. The early renderings also show plans for a green roof.

In addition to the Chambers property, RAZ Development is working to develop a mixed-use project in Hyattsville on Jamestown Road near the West Hyattsville Metro station.


The Lofts at Riverdale Park

Werrlein Properties and the Douglas Development Corporation plan to redevelop several properties, owned by Douglas Development, near the Riverdale Park Town Center and MARC station. The Lofts at Riverdale Park would include approximately 83 to 92 apartments in two buildings near the intersection of Queensbury Road and Rhode Island Avenue and the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail. An underground garage would provide resident parking. (Werrlein is also the developer of Suffrage Point in Hyattsville.)

A four-story building, with retail space on the ground floor and eight to 12 apartments, would replace the vacant building at 4701 Queensbury Road, between the trail and the train tracks. 

The existing building, which formerly housed the Riverdale Bookstore & Coffee Depot until 2005 and the nonprofit Archie Edwards Blues Foundation until 2019, has been unoccupied for several years and shows signs of disrepair, including a partially collapsed roof. In 2019, a coffee roaster unsuccessfully attempted to raise $300,000 to renovate the building and open a coffee shop. 

Across the street at 6108 Rhode Island Avenue, the developers would build a larger, three- to five-story building with 75 to 80 apartments, stretching between Queensbury Road and Riverdale Road. 

At the Sept. 13 pre-application community meeting, the development team noted it planned to demolish most of the existing buildings to make room for new construction. However, architect Michael Romero mentioned that the development team will explore whether it is possible to move the vacant single-family home at 4609 Queensbury Road, which remains in relatively good condition, to another site.

Riviera Tapas Bar, the only tenant on the project site, will move from its current location (the building previously occupied by S&J’s Bar and Restaurant for several decades) across the street to a space vacated by Banana Blossom Bistro earlier this year.  

To build the project as proposed, the development team will need to apply to the county to rezone the properties, which are currently zoned a combination of legacy mixed-use town center (MUTC) and single-family housing.

In addition to the September community meeting, the development team presented a similar concept to the Riverdale Park MUTC Local Design Review Committee on Nov. 2

Members of the review committee expressed support for more housing in the area along with concerns about the proposed scale of the buildings, which exceed the height envisioned for the location in the 2004 Riverdale Park MUTC Development Plan. Committee members also asked several questions related to the development team’s proposal to rezone the property as local transit-oriented planned development edge (LTO-PD-E), which would affect the size of the building permitted and other standards applied to the development.

The proposed redevelopment coincides with several plans to improve the street design and safety in Town Center around the train track crossing. The town’s Trolley Trail and Parking Lot Redesign Project says it will “improve the design, circulation, and safety of multi-travel modes through the Town Center.” The town is also looking at options to reengineer the Lafayette Street and Natoli Place alignment to improve safety on the other side of the train tracks near Town Center Market.  A regional plan to improve bike and pedestrian connections to the Purple Line stations recommended improved and wider sidewalks across the train tracks near the project site.

Development of the Chambers property and the Lofts at Riverdale Park are both in early stages of planning. As the projects progress through the county’s development process, they may evolve and details may change.

Romero said about the Lofts at Riverdale Park, “We are updating the design to respond to the comments we received from the community and the MUTC design review committee. The team plans to reconvene with the community in the new year to share the next iteration of design.”

Community members interested in learning more about the projects, or the changes that are made during the planning process, should watch for announcements of future presentations at meetings of the Riverdale Park MUTC Local Design Review Committee, the Riverdale Park Town Council and the Prince George’s County Planning Board.