An Apple Store in Riverdale Park?

6323166013 5db709c292 z An Apple Store in Riverdale Park?

Photo of Apple store in Denver by Flickr user Nicolas Fleury

The Hyattsville Wire heard from a local Realtor who heard from a Prince George’s County government official that developers of the Whole Foods Market in Riverdale Park are looking to land an Apple retail store.

Apple is apparently doing a market feasibility study of the area, which is something they do before opening any location, to check to make sure it’s a good place to invest in.

Now, if it’s true, there would still be quite a few steps between now and an Apple store actually opening along Route 1.

But there are a couple of reasons why it makes sense. Although Apple has focused its expansion of retail stores on the international market, it continues to open new stores within the U.S. in the right markets.

Apple already has stores in Georgetown, Pentagon City and Clarendon and two in Bethesda, but none in the northeast of the greater D.C. area. Locating near a Whole Foods Market would make sense from a retail perspective, while being near the University of Marland campus would fit with the company’s outreach to college students.

True or not, hearing talk of a possible Apple retail store in Riverdale Park is yet another sign of the Route 1 renaissance.

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A Grand Entrance for Arts District Piano

2014 04 16 10.36.45 1024x768 A Grand Entrance for Arts District Piano

Photo by Lise Nau. Used with permission.

A grand piano was craned into a home in the Arts District Hyattsville’s east side Wednesday afternoon.

Homeowner Lise Nau, a retired piano technician, said that craning pianos is common in urban areas with narrower entryways and stairs. But it was definitely a notable occurrence in Hyattsville.

Workers with D&E Professional Piano Movers lifted the piano with a crane from Johnson Crane Services of Beltsville to the rooftop terrace of Nau’s home at the corner of 45th Avenue and Longfellow Street.

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Pizzeria Paradiso Delay Could Be Resolved Soon

art workssm Pizzeria Paradiso Delay Could Be Resolved Soon

A bureaucratic tangle over the Pizzeria Paradiso in Hyattsville could be resolved soon.

The owners of ArtWorks and the popular Washington eatery have been in a dispute with the Prince George’s Historic Preservation Commission over designating the dilapidated  Marche Florist building on Route 1 as historic.

Now ArtWorks is being pushed to move quickly because federal grants on the project must be spent by May 2, reports the Washington Post:

Brown’s department asked for the $90,000 grant back, but the County Council interceded, saying ArtWorks had already invested $50,000 and was well on its way to spending the rest. “We were able to save it,” said County Council member William A. Campos (D-Hyattsville).

But that gives the nonprofit about 10 business days to spend the remaining funds and turn in receipts to Prince George’s housing officials.

Barbara Johnson, executive director of Art Works, told the Post that the renovation project is “moving forward” and is “unstoppable.”

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The Historic District’s Lions Are on the Move

photo 45 1024x768 The Historic Districts Lions Are on the MoveIf you’ve seen these lion statues move in the Historic District, you’re not imagining things.

The two lions grace the entrance of a historic home at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Kennedy Street. Typically, statues like this face outward, as with the famous lions in front of buildings belonging to the HSBC Group, a banking company.

But this particular pair has moved around every few weeks, sometimes facing outward, sometimes inward, and sometimes facing each other.

Fans of the “Dr. Who” series may not want to blink around these lions, but for the rest of us, it’s mostly just fun to see if they’ve moved when you pass the house.

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It’s Time to Rename This Street

photo 441 1024x768 Its Time to Rename This StreetToledo Terrace is undergoing a renaissance in everything but name.

The Hyattsville road, which loops around the back of the Mall at Prince George’s, is now the home of two new high-end apartments: Post Park Apartments and 3350 at Alterra. More new housing is expected in the next few years as well.

But the street name is holding back the area.

To most Americans, the name Toledo reminds you of Rust Belt cities still fighting their way back from the recession, not the historic city in Spain. And Toledo, Ohio, is regularly ranked among America’s “most miserable cities” by Forbes magazine.

The developers of the newest high-end apartments in the area even chose the made-up name Alterra rather than make use of the name, while the older Toledo Plaza Apartments try their darndest to call Spain to mind with units named Cordoba, Seville and La Mancha.

But it’s no use. Unless there’s some historical reason why the street has that name (and we can’t think of one) then the city ought to just rename it Cordoba Court or Seville Street or something. Anything but Toledo Terrace.

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Latin American Restaurant Coming to Route 1

IMG 4886 1024x682 Latin American Restaurant Coming to Route 1A Latin American restaurant is slated to move into the space vacated by the Calvert House Inn.

A sign posted in back of the empty space on Route 1 in Riverdale Park says the restaurant will serve  “Latin and American food” and features cartoons of a cactus and a man in an oversized sombrero. The new owners have painted the exterior a bright red.

The space has been empty since the Calvert House Inn closed in February after more than a half century in operation. The new restaurant registered on March 31 with the state Department of Assessments and Taxation.

The company’s owner, Samuel Umanzor of Hyattsville, currently runs a restaurant in Falls Church, Va., called Lesly Restaurant Bar and Grill, which serves Mexican, Salvadoran and Latin-American fare.

The new restaurant will compete with the popular Pupuseria El Comalito, a Salvadoran restaurant across Route 1 that is typically packed on weekends.

Another Latin American restaurant, Cafe Azul, is a little farther south in the Arts District, while the strictly Mexican Pike El Chalateco is closer to downtown.

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BonChon Coming to University Town Center

BonChon BonChon Coming to University Town Center

Photo courtesy of

BonChon Chicken is coming to University Town Center. The South Korean fried chicken restaurant chain, which has six locations in Virginia and two in Maryland, will take over the space being vacated by Hank’s Tavern and Eats, according to the Hyattsville Life and Times.

The paper found that an application had been filed with a county board to transfer Hank’s liquor license to a group called Affluent MD, Inc. According to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, the business was registered in December by Jing Sheng Huang of Germantown, Md. Two other investors are listed as Xuan Huang-Fu and Peiyan Wang. Known for its “crispy and sticky” fried chicken,

BonChon has expanded in recent years along the East Coast, with 22 locations in the U.S. overall. The restaurants tend to have slightly varied menus but stick within the budget price range.

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Hyattsville’s Catholic Community Gets Noticed

photo 44 1024x768 Hyattsvilles Catholic Community Gets Noticed

St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Hyattsville.

About a hundred young Catholic families have moved to Hyattsville in recent years to help revitalize the local religious community.

Led in part by former city council member and Hyattsville Life & Times publisher Chris Currie, this “intentional community” has helped restore older houses, revitalize the St. Jerome Catholic church and redesign the curriculum at St. Jerome Academy, according to a story in Fare Forward, a Christian quarterly.

There are now unofficially about a hundred young, well-educated, and orthodox families in Hyattsville’s intentional community. “It’s a community without any kind of articles of incorporation or authority structure outside of the parish,” Currie says, “which is the basic unit of Catholic society.” In recent years, St. Jerome Parish has had significantly more baptisms than funerals, reversing a general trend of urban churches with dwindling numbers of mostly elderly parishioners. Several young parishioners have entered the seminary.

Hyattsville was well-positioned for this kind of revival.

St. Jerome’s dates back to 1886 and the school back to 1943, giving the local Catholic community strong local ties. The Catholic University of America is just four miles south while St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church is a little north, near the University of Maryland. There’s even a local Catholic moms group.

But the hard work of Currie and others to bring families to the area and restore the local religious institutions is a major factor in the growth of this community.

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Hank’s Tavern to Close This Month

IMG 4891 1024x682 Hanks Tavern to Close This MonthHank’s Tavern and Eats at University Town Center will close on April 20.

The restaurant, which serves standard American fare, has had a loyal customer base since it opened in 2008. Backed by Washington celebrity chef Geoff Tracy, who has since decamped to New York City, Hank’s was one of the first signs of new life in the local restaurant scene.

Though there’s nothing on the restaurant’s website, Facebook or Twitter accounts, staff say that there are some plans to go out with style, perhaps with some special events.

It’s unclear how much the troubles of the University Town Center have to do with the restaurant closing. After all, as a sit-down restaurant aimed at a slightly older crowd, it managed to do fine throughout the recession and the new Safeway and other businesses coming to the area would presumably have only helped things.

The Hyattsville Wire heard that the location will become a Korean barbecue, although we can’t confirm that at this time.

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Two More Tenants for University Town Center

2883543179 065fc3caf4 z1 Two More Tenants for University Town Center

Photo by Flickr user dan reed!

University Town Center is getting two more tenants: a pet store and a salon.

The developers behind the new Safeway being built along East-West Highway have also lined up Unleashed, a smaller neighborhood store that the Petco chain has been running since 2009, and Phenix Salon Suites, an upscale hair salon and spa, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The two-building development, slated to cost around $25 million, should be completed in late 2015. …

Safeway will lease 55,000 square feet in the development. Petco has signed a lease for 4,600 square feet and Phenix another 4,500 square feet. There is about 18,000 square feet still available for lease.

The article says that Echo Real Estate Services Co. expects to break ground in the next 60 days on the project and hope to have other tenants lined up before construction is completed.

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