While expecting their first child, Edgar and Marcia Garcia decided to sell their one-bedroom condominium in Arlington and move to a bigger place. They looked at houses in Northern Virginia, Montgomery County and even Columbia, Md., only to be faced with sticker shock. “The prices were out of control,” recalls Edgar Garcia, 35.
The couple eventually settled in the Arts District Hyattsville, a new community of homes, apartments and retail about two miles from the District in Prince George’s County. EYA completed the first part of the development in 2011 in an area of downtown Hyattsville west of Baltimore Avenue (Route 1).
Across the street on the east side of Route 1, Pulte is responsible for another 101 townhouses and has already sold 70 of them. Next to them, EYA is building 61 additional townhouses, with 14 remaining to be sold.
“The Arts District is still up-and-
coming, and prices aren’t as expensive as in more established neighborhoods,” says Garcia, who paid $364,000 for a three-
bedroom Pulte townhouse. “We like being able to walk to shops and the supermarket.”
Contemporary design: The four-level Pulte townhouses are sheathed in a variety of materials, including brick and HardiePanel siding, concrete block and corrugated metal. The EYA homes are more streamlined in their exteriors of brick and cement board.
Both sets of townhouses have similar floor plans. At street level, the homes typically open to a foyer or a study at the front and a one- or two-car garage entered from the back. The second floor is a big open space combining living and dining areas and kitchen.
The kitchen incorporates a pantry and a powder room. In one model home, the tiny bathroom was awkwardly placed between the refrigerator and a staircase.
Three or four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, occupy the third and fourth floors. Laundry and linen closets are located off the third-level hallway.
Most of the houses have tiny front yards but offer a rooftop terrace big enough for an L-shaped sofa or a dining table. This outdoor space, however, extends from the top-level bedroom, so it isn’t convenient for grilling or dining near the kitchen. Some models offer the option of a rear deck off the kitchen.
As part of the base package, buyers of the EYA homes get granite kitchen countertops, Energy Star casement windows and nine-foot ceilings.
Fireplaces and other add-ons: Buyers of the Pulte homes can add fireplaces, hardwood floors and exposed brick walls to the living area. In the kitchen, they can pay extra for 42-inch cabinets, granite countertops and mosaic tile backsplashes. Among the more contemporary design options is a stainless-steel balustrade for the staircases in both Pulte and EYA homes.
Edgar Garcia, an artist who works at Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, as does his wife, has converted his one-car garage into a painting studio. He is pleased that the 1950s Lustine car dealership on Route 1 has been converted by EYA into a community center with an art gallery next to the fitness area. Shops and restaurants are within short walking distance.
Three of the buildings in the development house rental apartments. Called the Palette at Arts District, they were built by Woodfield Investments, and some have been leased by buyers waiting for their townhouses to be completed.
A swimming pool, a barbecue pavilion and a playground stretch along the eastern edge of the community near railroad tracks. The Garcias now find that the tot lot comes in handy. Their baby son, Mateo, was born in July, just six days after they closed on their new home.
Living there: The newest part of the Arts District Hyattsville community is bounded by Route 1 to the west, Madison Street to the north, 45th Place to the east and Kennedy Street to the south.
Base prices range from about $360,000 to $500,000 for the EYA townhouses and from about $315,000 to $525,000 for the Pulte homes.
Home association fees average $160 per month and include the pool, fitness center and landscaping; the builders provide shuttle service to Metrorail.
Since April, EYA has sold 47 homes and Pulte has sold 40 homes at prices ranging from the $300,000s to the $500,000s.
Fourteen EYA townhomes are still available for sale, with delivery dates varying from September through December. Thirty Pulte homes are still available for sale, with delivery from March through December. Two EYA homes, including the model, are available immediately.
Schools: Hyattsville Elementary and Middle schools, Northwestern High School, St. Jerome Academy, DeMatha Catholic High School, Elizabeth Seton High School, University of Maryland at College Park, Prince George’s Community College.
Transit: West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza and College Park stations are on Metro’s Green Line, and a shuttle bus service runs every 20 minutes to the Prince George’s Plaza station during rush hours. The MARC train’s Riverdale Park station is less than a mile away. Metrobus lines 81, 83, 86, F4 and F8 serve the community, along with Prince George’s County bus lines 13, 14 and 17.
Deborah K. Dietsch is a freelance writer.