Werrlein Properties, LLC has submitted a proposal for the reuse of 4017 Hamilton Street (former WSSC Building). The presentation is attached to this Forum. 

The application will go through the City's Development Review Process, detailed below. You are invited to provide public comment at any public meeting, within this Forum, or by email to cityclerk@hyattsville.org.

Questions should be directed to the City Planner, Katie Gerbes, at kgerbes@hyattsville.org or (301) 985-5059 OR to Werrlein Properties at info@werrleinproperties.com


Presentation of Proposal

February 5, 2018, City Council Meeting, 3rd Floor Council Chambers

Presentation of Proposal

February 27, 2018, Planning Committee Meeting, 2nd Floor Prangley Room

Discussion of Proposal

April 16, 2018, City Council Meeting, 3rd Floor Council Chambers 

Discussion of Proposal

May 7, 2018, City Council Meeting, 3rd Floor Council Chambers 

Action on Proposal

May 21, 2018, City Council Meeting, 3rd Floor Council Chambers 

1 Attachment

Attachment: Document - Magruder Point Development Presentation


The attached document was presented to the Hyattsville City Council on Monday, February 5, 2018. 

    Sarah Eisen 2 months ago
    • How will we have events like the cyclocross and carnival without the parking lot?
    • This development encroaches on the playground at Magruder Park. That is not ok. Even if they redesign the playground it will still be looming in the shadow of these new houses.
    • The amount of traffic this development will bring in is untenable - it will make it even more dangerous for kids, joggers, bikers, etc. to get from the neighborhood into Magruder park. That intersection (at the entrance to Magruder Park) is already at capacity.
    • We need this space for our community. There would be little to gain for current residents by building this development, but the developers have a lot to gain ($$$).
    • It is highly likely that PGCPS will choose to build a new school in this location once they get to that point in the CIP process. If the land is already gone, this will no longer be a possibility. There are really no other places central to the neighborhood for a rebuild of Hyattsville Elementary. HES is high on the county CIP list, just not at the point right now where the school district can act so it's really up to us to leave this space available.
    • Impact on the environment - the developer says there will be no impact but what form of accountability will the developer have? For how long?
    0 Comments 9 Votes Created

    The WSSC redevelopment is a great opportunity to expand the city's housing stock within walking distance of the Arts District and the historic core (as well as the West Hyattsville Metro Stop). The proposed design thoughtfully compliments existing houses and returns the WSSC site to its historic use -- single family homes.

    I know many families who find the historic district attractive and would love to live in this humane and walkable community. Given limited listings, they often struggle to find a property and move elsewhere. This project will allow for a greater number of these families to find a home in Hyattsville. This will help make the community more vibrant and help sustain the Route 1 businesses that make the Arts District such a wonderful place, but sometimes seem to struggle with getting enough business.

    If there are crowding issues with the schools, that needs to be addressed by the school board. If it doesn't that is a failure of our local governing institutions and the blame should be pinned there, not on a private development. It is a duty of local government to plan and allow for growth and development. Locking the city into some status quo, isn't really what governing is supposed to be about. There are lots of beautiful historic properties in Hyattsville, but the decaying WSSC is not among them.

    I do fully agree with other commentators that the city and county should look into making it easier to renovate and expand existing buildings and houses.

    While I appreciate the financial windfall Werrlein Properties, LLC would make turning what was once and office building and parking lot into a couple of acres of high density housing I fail to see what benefit that has to the community. New housing will not match with the existing neighborhood, many of which are 100 year old homes. The minimal facilities that are the playground and pool would become overrun with hundreds of new residents and those residents already in the neighborhood would have little to gain from this development. The ideal would be reusing the existing structure for some sort of community center but that may not be a fiscally viable option. I understand that Werrlein is in the business of turning a profit but if the development had any sort of mixed use component to it (gym, shops, restaurants, anything for the community) with residential above or beside that would be more of a win/win for the company and the community. If the only option the city is pursuing is dumping a couple hundred families into the bottom of the neighborhood in new housing my preference would be to keep the empty office building and parking lot which while not ideal doesn't create any strain on the community.

    0 Comments 10 Votes Created

    The need to balance environmental impacts, emergency management measures, affordability, and a myriad of other difficult aspects of this project are important. Werrlein Properties won't be able to make every resident happy with their development project, but that shouldn't be the reason that the project is rejected. There will be change to Hyattsville, it isn't easy and will often be uncomfortable.

    Despite the potential to be a great location for a new school, it isn't a political or fiscal reality at this time. Turning the building into a 100 unit apartment/condo will only aggravate the feared traffic concerns and makes and even greater change to the character of the neighborhood. While the historic preservation of old building is important, not every building is worth saving.

    The issues that Werrlein Properties does need to address to make this property viable are the storm-water management, environmental impact, and flood mitigation concerns. The obvious place to start would be to only build outside of the 500-year flood zone, this would leave most of the upper property for development. To address the environmental impact I suggest utilizing local expertise and implement a better ecological transition from the Magruder Park bog into an expansion of the parks green/wild space on the lower property. Finally, the storm-water management issue must be addressed because the lower lot is one the lowest points in Hyattsville and it is not a matter of if but when there will be flash flooding. Green roofs, community or household cisterns, advanced bio-retention areas, and other methods must be implemented.

    There are many dedicated and experienced people in Hyattsville, Werrlein Properties must continue to make use of their skills to help make this a project that is not only acceptable to the community but a proud achievement that makes Hyattsville an even better place to live.

    Look at the list- Pyramid Atlantic, Franklins, Vigilante Coffee, Pizza Paradiso, The Firehouse Lofts. In my opinion, the soul and charm of Hyattsville lies in institutions like these and the old homes, not in new development. We are a historic district for a reason. Lets not kill the golden goose.

    0 Comments 9 Votes Created

    The development and investment occurring in and around the Historic Arts District is incredibly exciting. Whether at the Busboy & Poets or the new Pizza Paradiso, the new investment flowing into our community represents an incredibly positive trajectory for us all and will encourage others to also invest and reinvest in our community. We should do everything in our power to support the continued development of our community and why I feel that the Werrlein proposal is vital to our community's continued growth.

    Whether at the gathering at Vigilante coffee shop last year or in other settings, over the past few months, Jonathan Werrlein has actively sought out community input for this proposal and has demonstrated a commitment to listening and adjusting plans for Magruder Pointe based on our input. In this process, he has proven himself to be someone who genuinely wants to contribute to our community in a meaningful way.

    On a personal level, we live directly across the street from the WSSC site and we are forced to look at this rotting building each day. Living across the street, we know the demolition will be an inconvenience for a time but the pros of having new development and new investment in our community far outweigh any negatives in the short term. We certainly will not miss looking at that structure when it is gone. In my view, the plans for Magruder Pointe Development cannot start soon enough.

    Once you examine this project closely, the answer of how to develop this property becomes obvious. Once you take into account all of the property's constraints, there is only one solution. The only solution that does not develop in the floodplain, develop on land that has been set aside for park expansion, demolish a historic building by an exceptional architect, AND, allow the private developer to still turn a profit is to adaptively reuse the existing buildings. Floor plans have already been drawn up that demonstrate that you can fit 100 units into the existing building envelope. Also, there are well over 100 parking spots in the several terraced parking areas around the building, so the parcel adjacent to Magruder would not be needed for this (more parking is needed for increased density of office space compared to residential). If the city and county are clear that we will not allow development in the flood plain, the cost for the property should come down, and then perhaps the city could find the funds to buy this parcel from the current or future owners, making the entire project more affordable. With this solution, everyone wins, the historic building is preserved, the park land and floodplain are left undeveloped, the developer can still turn a profit, and the important historic character of our neighborhood is retained.

    0 Comments 7 Votes Created

    Magruder Park is a public space. It's where we end the annual parade to celebrate the city. It's where we hold the carnival, the cyclocross, and where folks are out and about every day. While the parking lot there is a bit of an eyesore, it's still provides sightlines into the park and helps keep the park open and inviting. Yeah, it's not actually public property but historically it was and the council(s) should look into options of restoring it to such.

    Packing in a bunch of pricey new homes will permanently alter the character of the park and reduce our public space, something Hyattsville is already short of. We already have big developments up and down route 1 and 410 and near west hyattsville Metro - that's plenty.

    If we're going to do something with the parking lot and old WSSC building sites, best to make them in the service of the public. Put the new elementary school in the lot and make the old WSSC building a community center or mow it down and make it more parkland. Keep Magruder our public meeting space. As we pack in more residents, we'll need it even more...

    0 Comments 12 Votes Created

    I live on Farragut St about three blocks away from this site and am very concerned about the sudden population density increase this proposal would cause. Already the traffic on 40th Street is very heavy, it’s often scary to walk along the side walks or cross the street on this SINGLE LANE road. We already have cars speeding down Farragut to cut through town, which really concerns me as a parent of a little kid. I can only imagine that heavier traffic on 40th would exacerbate this. Not to mention that we moved into the area some years ago because of the historic feel of the neighborhood and the open spaces, which in my opinion would change for the worse with this development. And our public schools are bursting at the seams! Finding childcare has been extremely difficult here for young parents for some years due to a baby boom and young couples/families moving in. the school density problem is only going to get worse unless something is done, and this development is not going to help. In addition, I don’t see any planning for a common space in the development design, meaning that they expect the new residents to use Magruder. I really don’t see a single reason why I should support this development.

    0 Comments 10 Votes Created

    According to Werrlein, it purchased the property for $6-$7 million dollars. They are not planning on building any affordable housing units. Let’s assume the high end of that figure ($7 million). They plan on developing 84 homes for resale (combination of townhouses and single family homes). They will price their homes in the low 500s to high 600s depending on the features. Let’s assume an extraordinarily low end of that profit figure when building and labor costs are factored in, every home will be a net profit of $200,000.

    The developer will make an astonishing $16.8 million dollars in net profit before taxes. The community gets no affordable housing units when they could easily afford to create them, no business tax benefits since the developer isn’t based in Hyattsville and only a handful of temporary jobs created. The city loses a place where a new school could be built, a park could be expanded or actual affordable housing can be built.

    Just over the hill on Jefferson Street, we have an elementary school that serves our community well. It is facing a myriad of issues including severe overcrowding and public health hazards. Ironically, the land it is built on would actually serve as a better space for developing denser, more affordable, environmentally friendly housing. It would have easier access to downtown shopping, bus services and the municipal building.

    I understand the environmental concerns regarding the flooding issue. With that said, if the city is comfortable with a developer moving forward developing in this zoning area, why is a school unacceptable? Why should we prioritize the millions of dollars an out-of-town developer would make in the future against the new school facilities that our children need right now?

    We should not. If this project moves forward, it would be a disservice to the entire community, dry out affordable housing stock in the city and eliminate a site where a much needed school could be built. This project is a slap in the face to the progressive values of the community. It would be a travesty, and a tragedy for our children, if it were to move forward.

    10 Votes Created