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Cafritz Team Withdraws Preliminary Plan

The developer was unable to secure approval to build a CSX crossing on property belonging to the American Center for Physics.

After receiving a strongly worded letter from the American Center for Physics (ACP), Calvert Tract, LLC has decided to temporarily withdraw its preliminary plan of subdivision (PPS) from consideration by the Prince George's County Planning Board.

“We were working very diligently to try to get a letter from the American Center for Physics before the hearing date consistent with one of the conditions of approval. Unfortunately we will not be receiving that letter from ACP before the [Jan. 17] hearing date," said Chris Hatcher on behalf of Calvert Tract, LLC, the owners of the Cafritz property.   

At last week's meeting, the Riverdale Park Town Council raised several concerns about the plan, the placement and funding of the bridge among them. And in a recent report on the PPS, staff for the planning board recommended disapproval of the plan because it failed to meet several conditions, including placement and funding of the CSX crossing. 

“In light of all those facts and our commitment to keeping our word, we have decided to withdraw our application," Hatcher said. 

Below is a copy of the ACP letter, dated Jan. 15 and sent to the towns of Riverdale Park, University Park, and College Park. Copies were also sent to the developer's legal counsel: 

Dear Mayor Tabori, Mayor Fellows, and Mayor Archer,

The American Center for Physics (ACP) has just begun a detailed study of the possible impact of the CSX crossing that has been proposed by the Cafritz project to cross our property. The results of this investigation will take several months or longer. Until our independent analysis is complete, the ACP Board will not make a decision on this issue.

The ACP Board is angry that a letter was provided at the Monday, January 14th, meeting of the University Park Town Council, which erroneously appeared to present ACP’s support for having a roadway across our property. That letter was never reviewed or authorized by the ACP Board.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Sincerely yours,

Beth A. Cunningham

President, American Center for Physics

CC: Richard “Chip” Reed, Thomas Haller

The developer will be sending an official letter to the towns and to the Planning Board confirming the withdrawal of their PPS on Wednesday, said Hatcher.

Council member Jonathan Ebbeler (Ward 1) suggested that if the town does not receive the letter in a timely manne,r the council should reconvene in a special session to address the matter. Mayor Vernon Archer and the other council members present agreed. 

Asked when Calvert Tract, LLC planned to resubmit its prelminary plan, Hatcher declined to comment.

BigDan January 20, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Good! Give up on these stupid hipster stores. What are they going to do when Busboys and Poets loses it's newness/hipsterness and it sits abandoned like the Lustine properties did for many years? Someone said "prosperity". LOL Such a joke. This area is in a steady decline. Hyattsville only cares about keeping the paint clean on Rt 1 or East/West Highway. Several friends bought homes in recent years and PG county (let alone Hyattsville) is a complete joke to them. The old BB&T building sits vacant, the WSSC continues to get broken into, the Safeway building turned into a Bestway has less cars in the lot than when Safeway was there. If it's not on Rt 1, the council and the mayor can't be bothered with it.
Peggy Anne January 20, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Well, it has always bugged me when any town has vacant strip malls, etc, and "planners" come up with a "new" idea to "save the town", and it's more of same. I live in a cow town out west (but come from PG County) and out here we can't keep anything going for more than a year than a dollar store, dinky grocery from hell, 5 churches and Post Office. I can only imagine how sad I would feel walking around Riverdale Park, and wincing at some of the debacles. I love the heart and soul of vintage US one, and the Older memories of Riverdale, etc, but I don't want to see it turned into a trendy architectural prostitute. I recall the days of neon, Mom and pop. OK I'm old, and I will stop ranting.
Michael B. Cron January 21, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Time for Safeway or Whole Foods to re-visit and evaluate the University Town Center property. There are eight ingress/egress access points. Better than one at the Cafritz property.
Donald James January 23, 2013 at 05:27 AM
It's amazing to me that most of the negative Nancy's that post on here are the ones who live in the area, but don't want to see any type of progress happen. Whether you like it or not, there is a lot of money on the table and this development will happen regardless. The developers of University Town Center didn't approach Whole Foods about locating there, the Cafritz owners did. Some of us want something different besides Shoppers, Giant, and Safeway.
Myrissa Martin February 18, 2013 at 03:54 AM
I don't live in Riverdale, but I travel to the area frequently. I based my 2 cents on what I see in the area. The lack of support for businesses that are already there or that have closed due to lack of support from your own community is amazing. If you can't handle what's already there, how will you handle a Whole Foods? I'm not talking about everybody in Riverdale, but surely the majority will choke on Wholefoods prices alone. Not to worry, the store will draw people from other areas, it's closer than driving to Annapolis! One other problem that could be a major factor in that area, is that the price per square foot for retail space is unbelievable. A small business owner would have to charge higher prices just to survive. I didn't say make a profit, but just to survive. Again, high prices will obviously not work in that area. I don't think it's by choice that store owners have to charge more, but more necessity! If you don't believe me, do some checking around, you can see for yourself. $45.00 to $50.00 per square foot is ridiculous. You might as well go to a mall and have real traffic everyday! BTW, these are general statements, these are facts!

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