Spotted in University Park

IMG_3450Here’s something you might have walked past without realizing it.

The Hyattsville Wire spotted a mounting block on Pineway in University Park which is a set of stairs to get on and off a horse more easily and was typically used by young and old riders and women riding side saddle. Next to it is a post for tying up the horse.

We aren’t sure when this was built or if it was ever used for that purpose. It’s possible it was added later as an affectation.

Either way, it’s a reminder of the long-standing history of University Park and one of those things that makes the area quaint and charming.

University Park was incorporated in 1935 and much of the community is a national historic district and on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Franklins: One of D.C.’s ‘Underrated’

IMG_2417Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store is well-known around Hyattsville, but the Washington Post recently listed its upstairs taproom among 11 of the D.C. area’s most underrated bars.

For his story, critic Fritz Hahn decided to revisit “highly enjoyable bars” that get overlooked “just because they’re no longer the shiniest, newest thing.”

For 14 years, Franklins has been the go-to place for fresh, local beer in Prince George’s County. It’s no longer the only brewpub in the county, but its beer remains the best. Regulars know the downtown Hyattsville restaurant has many faces: a toy store packed with goodies for all ages; a wine and beer shop; a family dining destination with pizzas and sandwiches. But the star is the copper-topped bar upstairs, which offers a view into Mike Roy’s brewhouse. Roy’s strong suits are IPAs and sour beers: The standout on my last trip was Sourhopnado, a well-made sour ale packed with resiny, citrusy hops. Get there between 4 and 6:30 p.m. for the daily happy hour, with $1 off all beers and discounted food, including a bowl of giant onion rings that might be too much for one person to finish.

Hopefully the piece will inspire more than a few D.C. residents to make the trip up to Franklins to see what the fuss is all about.

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H&M is Coming to Hyattsville

Photo courtesy of bit.ly/1rqptFg.

Photo courtesy of bit.ly/1rqptFg.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) recently announced H&M has signed a lease at the Mall at Prince Georges, which is scheduled to undergo a $25 million renovation to include new retail, restaurants and entertainment, according to an article in today’s Washington Business Journal.

Renovations to the mall will be done in phases and will start with a new 20,000 square-foot H&M slated to open this fall.

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24-Hour Safeway Opens at University Town Center

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The new 24-hour Safeway grocery store opened up earlier this month at University Town Center in Hyattsville, giving residents yet another option.

The new 54,000-square-foot center is one of Safeway’s “lifestyle” stores and features a Starbucks coffee bar, a deli and a meats and seafood section, and even a pizza bar. Between the new Safeway and Whole Foods Market opening later this year at the new Riverdale Park Station, not to mention Yes! Organic Market and Giant.

The new grocery is part of a large, mixed-used project by commercial real estate developer Echo Realty, which recently announced MedStar Health and Town Center Wine & Spirits have signed leases to join its Gateway at UTC project. They join Safeway and other new retailers including Unleashed by Petco, Le’s Nails, and Phenix Salon Suites, according to Echo’s website.

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Washingtonian Names Hyattsville “Hot” Neighborhood

IMG_6280Hyattsville has been named to another list for up-and-coming neighborhoods.

The Washingtonian selected the city as one of the “five hottest neighborhoods” in the Washington region, noting its diversity, affordable real estate and funky historic downtown.

Hyattsville’s quaint Cape Cods, bungalows, and Victorians finally have a vibrant main street to match. What used to be an uninviting strip of rundown commercial and industrial spaces along Route 1 has in the past decade been transformed into a shopping and dining district. Folks fed up with DC’s astronomical prices are taking note that in Hyattsville you can get a house with a yard for less than $300,000, have your pick of two Metro stops, and drive downtown in less than 20 minutes—some of the reasons why home prices jumped by more than 5 percent last year.

Other areas on the list: Mount Pleasant, Ballston, Trinidad and Shaw.

In recent years, Hyattsville has made a number of these lists, as the continuing redevelopment of Route 1 has kept attention on the area.

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New College Park Hotel Hits Milestone

Construction at the new hotel in College Park hit a milestone Friday.

The Hotel at University of Maryland will hold a ceremonial “topping off” as construction reaches the top floor, reports the Washington Business Journal. The hotel had originally been slated for 13 floors but had to scale back to 10 due to the nearby airport.

The story has some more details about the 297-room $165 million hotel being built by Southern Management Corp.

Southern is going for a three- to four-diamond-level hotel, following the guidebook of AAA, which does the hospitality rankings. The property will have an indoor pool and fitness center and a full-service Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in-house — Prince George’s County’s first.

The story notes that the university itself books 80,000 to 90,000 room-nights a year and the university chapel hosts 300 weddings a year.

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Wine Bar Slash Coffeehouse Coming in 2016

Photo of wine glass by Flickr user @hlkljgk

Photo of wine glass by Flickr user @hlkljgk

College Park will soon get an independent wine bar-slash-coffeehouse from a longtime local business owner.

The as-yet-unnamed drink spot will be located at 7131 Baltimore Ave., currently home to College Park Auto Parts, according to the Washington Business Journal:

They plan to offer a menu of locally-sourced food including cheese and charcuterie, small plates, sandwiches and more. The pair want the space to serve as coffeehouse, craft beer and wine bar and arts venue, with arts events and music performances in the evenings.

The two-story restaurant comes from Tony Akaras, owner of Plato’s Diner, which is kitty-cornered from the location, and business partner Mona Patel.

It comes as the Route 1 corridor continues to develop, with a Whole Foods coming to Riverdale Park just south of there and new housing across the street for University of Maryland students.

The restaurant is scheduled to open in early 2016.

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Hyatt House Hotel Joins Cafritz Project

Photo courtesy of bit.ly/1H6kUnW.

Photo courtesy of bit.ly/1H6kUnW.

The Riverdale Park Station will not only include Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods Market, but a Hyatt House hotel as well, complete with a swimming pool and green roof, according to a recent announcement by Calvin Cafritz Enterprises. The 120-room project is slated to open in mid- to late-2017.

The Hyatt House will be located just behind Whole Foods and will have an extended-stay option.

Construction of the 36,000-square-foot Whole Foods is well underway and is scheduled to be completed later this year or early 2016. A groundbreaking event for the store was held last month.

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TargetExpress Coming to College Park

Photo by Flickr user jeepersmedia http://bit.ly/1zF65qM

Photo by Flickr user jeepersmedia http://bit.ly/1zF65qM

TargetExpress is coming to College Park.

The new “urban-format” store will be located on the first floor of the student housing building on the site of the old Maryland Book Exchange on Route 1 and College Avenue, according to the Washington Business Journal:

TargetExpress stores skew toward grocery offerings, with food, household items, health and beauty products. The College Park TargetExpress could follow the model of the first-ever TargetExpress, which is also located near a large university — the University of Minnesota — and carries a fair amount of school supplies.

The College Park location is smaller than many of the stores that Target has announced thus far, most of which range from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. TargetExpress is a fraction of the size of a big-box Target, which averages about 135,000 square feet.

The store will have most of your day-to-day needs, such as shampoo, pencils and bananas, but not some of the other bigger items typically sold at Target like bicycles and toys.

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New Chainsaw Art in University Park

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Chainsaw artist Don Becker is working on another sculpture in University Park.

A tree stump along the town’s popular Wells Run park is slowly becoming a yellow-crowned night heron, a crab-eating migratory bird described as “more solitary and often more secretive” than other herons by the Audubon Field Guide.

The sculpture is just a stone’s throw from the Kermit the Frog sculpture that Becker also carved.

 

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