Metro approves price of Takoma property
Aug. 2, 2000
Luke Mines
Staff Writer

The Metro board last week approved a tentative price of $1.05 million for the sale of approximately four acres of land at the Takoma Metro station to the Arlington developer Eakin/Youngentob Associates.

"[The price] is structured to be flexible based on the final outcome of the approvals," said Toby Millman of Eakin/Youngentob about the terms agreed to by Metro.

The developer must still get approval for its townhouse development through the District of Columbia's planned unit development and historic preservation processes.

A new small area plan for Takoma, D.C., which District planning officials say will soon be under way, could also affect the eventual scope of Eakin/Youngentob's plans.

Planning officials have said the small area plan will set a course for commercial development, zoning, historic preservation and transportation issues in Takoma, D.C.

"We've established a certain unit cost," said Alvin McNeal, development manager for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, meaning the final price paid to Metro will be based on the number of townhomes Eakin/Youngentob finally gets approval to build at the Takoma site.

McNeal said $1.05 million is the minimum price at which the deal will go forward.

As part of the agreement, Eakin/Youngentob will pay for the relocation of the bus stops and access roads at the Metro station and the consolidation of parking into a two-story garage. The reconfiguration of bus and parking facilities is necessary to make room for Eakin/Youngentob's proposed development, which is planned to include 90 townhomes.

The Metro board vote was unanimous, said Metro spokesman Ray Feldmann, though nonvoting board member D.C. Councilman David Catania lobbied to have approval of the term sheet delayed until the Takoma, D.C., small area plan is completed.

"We had people contacting [Catania], but it was too little to late," said Sara Green, a Takoma, D.C., resident and member of Takoma United, a citizen group which has lobbied hard to slow down the development process at the Metro station.

The City of Takoma Park also has sought to slow down the process.

"We had written a letter to the WMATA board asking for them to delay the approval of the term sheet to allow the Small Area Plan to go forward," Mayor Kathy Porter said.

She said Metro board Chairwoman Gladys Mack called her to say the board would approve the term sheet but the development would respect the outcome of the small area plan.

"I think that there is a way to put development on a part of that property that the community would be able to live with," Porter said.

"We think that 85 to 90 townhouses is still too much density," said Lorraine Pearsall, president of Historic Takoma, a preservationist organization which had previously vocally opposed any development on the Metro site.

Tony Griffin, deputy director of the D.C. Office of Planning, said a consultant team is about to begin working on the small area plan.