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Development Watch: Subway in Downtown Hyattsville?

Subway franchisee wants to redevelop vacant property on Route 1.

A Subway franchisee has his eyes on a blighted piece of downtown Hyattsville, with a proposal to transform a vacant aluminum-sided building near the intersection of Jefferson Street and Baltimore Avenue into a fast food restaurant.

The building, located at 5516 Baltimore Avenue, most recently housed the ill-fated Alberta's Thrift Shop, whose sign can still be seen hanging above the fenced off structure. 

The site sits next to the Happy Wash car wash at 5514 Baltimore Avenue. 

If given approval by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the site would be razed and redeveloped as a one-story, 1,400 sq. foot fast food sandwich restaurant. 

But the property owner, Potomac resident Jagjot Khandpur, is requesting a variance, asking the planning commission to approve the project with a driveway and rear parking lot which takes up 35 percent of the 6,300 sq. foot footprint of the property. The Prince George's County Gateway Arts District zoning calls for buildings to take up 80 percent of their lot frontage, a requirement which Khandpur's proposal does not meet.

According to city documents, Khandpur has two decades experience running Subway franchises, and he has already received corporate approval to expand to downtown Hyattsville. 

Khandpur bought the property in 2011.

The proposed restaurant calls for a two lane, 22-foot wide driveway which connects to a small parking lot in the rear of the property. 

"Due to the narrow frontage of the lot, the requirement to provide parking in the rear and the need to provide a two way driveway access to the parking, we cannot provide the required 80 percent frontage development as required," reads a letter from the applicant. "Meeting this requirement would render the property useless." 

His proposal comes before the Hyattsville City Council tonight when he asks for their approval of his amendment to the Arts District's development standards. 

The city council meets at 8 p.m. at the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street.

Edward September 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM
There's only 5 parking spots there in the back. I imagine they'd be perpetually full.
s September 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Humm... this is a tough one. One: I think his aeration of the property being “useless otherwise’ is sort of a soft threat. Are we to assume since he bought the property in 2011 that his going to let it sit vacant if he does not get his way? That’s tacky business practice on his part, verging on obnoxious. Two: If he really needs 5 parking spaces (perhaps for employees/handicap) how about access from the back via Kennedy Street. That would give him much more usable square footage for retail. Three: the big picture must be seen here, It needs to fit in with the new neighborhood. Have the owners of the car wash and tire place and the law office on 44th properties been included? Maybe a joint venture. Four: Where is the site for the future parking facility? This is a factor also. (God, please someone say Sudsville, albeit a very well taken care of property. Just doesn’t fit the next mix) This corner is a critical part of the downtown. It’s important to get it right.
Mark Ferguson September 11, 2012 at 02:00 AM
One - the 22' drive aisle is a code requirement, as is the 80% frontage requirement. The two requirements simply conflict on a site this narrow. To allow for parking in the rear (also a code requirement), the site would need to be 110' wide; it isn't. So one of the two requirements have to give for any development to be possible, and a narrower entrance is essentially not possible for cars to be able to get in and out at the same time. Two - the lot has no access to Kennedy Street. Three - The owners of the car wash and the law office are different people. They have no more interest in this site (for whatever its use) than you do in having your neighbors share your bedroom. Four - Who knows?
Nick September 11, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Starbucks would be better.
s September 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM
That’s very helpful information M. Ferguson, sounds like code needs to be reconsidered for this situation. It does not sound like the site is unusable if J. Khandpur’s plan is not approved. As for the bedroom comment, it lacks vision. I work for a company that enters into joint ventures when the situation is right. Seems to me this might be an opportunity. There are three/four small lots in a location undergoing dynamic change. “What is it? The stuff that dreams are made of…” And as for neighbor and bedrooms… would I get to pick which ones? lol

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