The College Park City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve three agreements — including a declaration of covenants and a maintenance agreement — for the planned Bozzuto redevelopment of the Quality Inn site.
Mayor Patrick Wojahn said the approved agreements ensure Bozzuto will commit to market-rate rentals on the property and that the property will be improved and maintained in a safe and sustainable manner.
Bozzuto is also asking for a tax abatement from both the county and city in order to go forward with the project, which will be decided separately from these agreements.
“Those are all things that we wanted essentially independently from the financial incentives that they are requesting from us,” Wojahn said about market-rate rentals and sustainable properties.
Previously, Bozzuto said the project could not happen unless the company received a 75 percent abatement of incremental property taxes on the development for the first 15 years.
On Wednesday night in City Hall, the Bozzuto team, District 3 Councilmen Robert Day and John Rigg and Terrapin Development Company members Carlo Colella and Ken Ulman gave a presentation that considers a 50 percent abatement instead.
Under this proposal, the city would collect all the property taxes that are currently being paid for the site, in addition to 50 percent of the additional property taxes that would occur due to the redevelopment increasing the property value of the site for the first 15 years.
“Under no scenario that we’re presently considering will the city experience a net loss in tax revenue,” Rigg said. “And under every scenario that we are currently considering, the city will experience a net increase in tax revenue.”
College Park will not accept any tax abatement unless the county does, Wojahn said, and the matter is expected to go in front of the county council in a month.
Prince George’s County Council staff have supported the abatement at the administrative level and recommend to the council a 50 percent abatement for 15 years, Colella said.
“Even with the 50 percent abatement that you’ve seen discussed,” said Bozzuto Managing Director Jeff Kayce, “we’re not where we need to be yet, but we are committed to finding a way to get there.”
Without an abatement, Bozzuto would not be able to secure a high enough return on investment for the planned $140 million project, which Colella called “aspirational.”
The planned development would include 393 residential units and about 73,000 square feet of retail space. Kayce said the units would rent for about $2,300 a month. It would also include a new private road that would connect Calvert Road to Guildford Road, as well as more than 200 new parking spaces.
“We intentionally wanted to solicit proposals for projects like this; we did not want another undergraduate student housing project built,” Colella said, adding that student housing developments have higher returns than the high-quality residential and retail development that is proposed and would not require an abatement.
If Bozzuto is unable to redevelop the site as planned, it is likely a different developer would do so instead, but not of the quality Bozzuto is proposing, Rigg said.
“The intention of this project was to introduce high-quality, placemaking-driven market-rate housing that is not a student housing project into the core of College Park,” Ulman said. “We are really working to be a place where more non-students want to live.”