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Town Center Developer Chosen, Town Also Receives $300,000 Legacy Grant

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By Chris Davis

At two meetings in late December, members of the Town Center Redevelopment Committee and the Mayor and Council heard presentations from two potential developers at the site: All-Phase Real Estate and Douglas Development Corporation. Those present at the meetings on December 12 and 19 posed many tough questions of the developers and studied (very) preliminary architectural plans.

Using criteria such as strength of the presentation, proposed commercial uses, business philosophy, and experience working with small historic retail centers, the committee recommended to the Mayor and Council that the town partner with Douglas Development. Douglas Jemal, who already owns highly visible commercial properties in Riverdale Park on Route 1 (the former Citizen's Bank Building) and on our border on Kenilworth Avenue (the office park near Madison Hill), recently developed the historic buildings in Chinatown around the MCI Center in Washington, DC.

At the January 7 Legislative Meeting, the Riverdale Park Town Council voted 4 to 0 to accept the committee's recommendation. The town's next steps are primarily legal ones, including deciding financial arrangements and establishing covenants governing acceptable uses for the properties. A committee appointed by the Mayor and Council made up of the Town Administrator, two councilmembers, and four residents will work with the firm's architect to finalize the design of the buildings. The Architecture and Design Subcommittee's earlier report to the Council and a 1919 photograph will be used as starting points for that phase of the project.

Also in December the Town of Riverdale Park received a $300,000 Legacy Grant from the State of Maryland for redevelopment of the Town Center. We are grateful to Town Administrator Patrick J. Prangley, whose work on the grant application helped garner us such generous funding. The average award throughout the state was $50,000.

Watch for more updates on the Town Center throughout the year.

Chris Davis, Ward 4 Councilmember and Economic Development Committee Chair, is Cochair of the Town Center Redevelopment Committee.

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