Item #1: Overall design/layout of community and location, location, location:
I thought the overall site plan of this community looked great. (see the “Riverdale Park Station Info” tab of this blog here http://riverdaleparkstation.blogspot.com/p/riverdale-park-station.html).
There is going to be a “tot lot” just two buildings down from the one we will be in. Village Green looks like it will be a nice park-like space just a few blocks away.
See the video on the developer’s website for a good idea of what this will all look like when it is done: http://riverdaleparkstation.com/video
Calvert Park and Riverdale Community Park are also in very short walking distance directly bordering the development which add even more green space if Village Green isn’t enough.
Another huge positive is the hiker biker trail right through center of community. Once this is opened the trail will go from College Park all the way into DC. You can take this trail to the Hyattsville Arts District in minutes. One thing I love about living in DC now is when it is nice outside I can bike to work and get there in minutes and even from Riverdale I think I should still be able to do it in 30 minutes or so. Read more about the trail here:
Also this development is:
Less than 1 mile to the University of Maryland campus.
Located in the new Discovery District. (NOAA, ESSIC, IARPA, etc)
Read about it here:
Nestled right in the middle of a great neighborhood. (University Park/Riverdale Park)
Less than 1 mile and easy walking distance to College Park Tennis Club (JTCC), one of the best tennis clubs in the nation with 32 courts and 15 indoor courts. I am a USTA 4.0 tennis player who has been a member of this club since I moved to DC and when I realized how close Riverdale Park Station was to College Park Tennis club it was just the icing on the cake for this decision.
In addition, I realize when you even mention the Purple line at this point folks roll their eyes because they believe it will never happen but SOMEDAY the Purple line will be built. They have planned a stop near the community at 201 and River Rd… Even if that doesn’t happen until 2022 whenever it does happen it will also help Riverdale.
Item #2: Distance and walk to College Park Metro:
Our building is only 0.56 miles away from the College Park metro stop.
The actual walk will only be 0.83 miles once the hiker/biker trail opens.
More important than the distance of the walk is the safety of the walk.
Currently we are renting only 0.4 miles from the Brookland metro stop in DC but the walk is not safe for my wife especially after dark. There have been many muggings and robberies even in the past 2 years since we have been here.
The hiker/biker trail through the University Park neighborhood is a bit farther of a walk (0.8 miles) but it seems as if it will be a much safer walk through a very nice neighborhood.
Everywhere we looked that had a walkable metro stop the safety of the walk was a concern. Although nothing is perfectly safe, It seems to me this should be a huge positive for Riverdale.
Item #3: Great retail options just steps away:
As someone who WAS a gym rat until I moved to DC having a Gold’s Gym DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE is a huge plus for me. No excuses for me now! Also just a few feet away will be a Jersey Mike’s which is my favorite sub place by far. It is good the Golds Gym will be there as I will need it after all of the Jersey Mike’s I will be eating.
Personally I am not a huge fan of Whole Foods which I know is a huge draw for others who have picked this community but it will be nice to be just feet away from being about to get fresh produce and other smaller things that I cannot get from Costco. (where we get 90% of everything we own)
Burtons, Habit Burger, District Taco and MOD Pizza will also literally be feet away. I’ve never been to any of these places but I have heard great things about Burtons and District Taco.
Even more exciting is there are still 11 spaces for rent… 2 spaces are currently in negotiations but have not been announced. One of the spaces is over 20,000 square feet and another is over 7000 square feet.
There have been lots of rumors online about what these remaining 13 retailers will be and I am personally excited about each one I read about. With already so many marquee names committed to Riverdale Park Station there is no telling who else they will attract and each great option they add only makes the community more attractive. Lots of upside here.
See the full retail plan on the “Riverdale Park Station Info” tab of this blog: http://riverdaleparkstation.blogspot.com/p/riverdale-park-station.html
Item #4: Large townhouses with open floorplans and rooftop decks:
First positive is that Stanley Martin is the builder of these townhouses and they have a reputation of being a builder that is one step up from a so called “Production Builder” like Ryan, Pulte or Lennar.
Although the models were not ready yet when we were looking at the start of February we were able to do a hardhat tour of two of the units in the first building. (Units 4 and 5 which will eventually be model units once completed in March)
Even though they were not finished we could tell the rooms looked large and the floorplans very open.
The thing we liked the most was the loft with adjoining rooftop terrace. The terrace was spacious and very private since it was overlooking the woods and had walls up to separate you from your neighbors. Since the land behind the first row of units (1-39) are all owned by metro there is no possibility that they will be built on. Also for the first three buildings the metro is not even in the backyard since it curves away. (although this is not true for units 31-39)
The Cassidy floor plan is the only plan that fully met our requirements (3 bedrooms, 2 car garage, walk-in closets) but unfortunately it seemed like everyone else felt that way as well. I will do another longer blog post about this in the future.
Still… even the smallest plan of the three (Dawson) still had nice open floor plan with 2 good sized bedrooms with a loft area that would work as a guest space along with a very respectable 1870 square feet and all 3 models had the private outdoor terrace.
Item #5: Decent Elementary School:
Although Prince Georges County schools are 23rd of 24 school districts in Maryland (only Baltimore City is worse)…. University Park Elementary school is now one of the better public elementary schools in the county. It’s “GreatSchools” rating is currently at a 6.
Not only that, but the school has been improving by leaps and bounds as the area has been improving.
In 2004 University Park was 638th out of 804 elementary schools in Maryland.
(Equivalent GreatSchools ranking of a 2)
In 2016 it ranks 360th out of 848 elementary schools in Maryland.
(got these stats from https://www.schooldigger.com/go/MD/schools/0051001178/school.aspx)
With so many expensive developments in this area currently being built along with rapidly rising real estate prices in the area I have to think this is only going to improve over the next 5 years before our child is ready for elementary school. My hopes are the improvement trend continues and the GreatSchools rating is up to a 7 or 8 in 5 more years. If it just continues to improve at the rate it has been then it will get there.
Also this school goes all the way to 6th grade so assuming this works out I will not have to worry about anything for 11-12 years or so.
Finding a public elementary school that isn’t terrible anywhere near DC is very difficult so the fact that University Park is a 6 and moving up quickly is another positive for Riverdale.