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New Franklin Park Owner Seeks TIF For Public Improvements | Business

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New Franklin Park Owner Seeks TIF For Public Improvements
New Franklin Park Owner Seeks TIF For Public Improvements

This story comes to us from Leslie Braunstein?:

Greenbelt, MD, April 6, 2011 – More than 50 representatives of state and local government bodies, Federal government agencies, military bases, utility companies, and universities attended a political summit hosted by the new ownership of Franklin Park at Greenbelt Station, a 153-acre rental apartment and townhome community located in Prince George’s County, MD. The participants agreed to form public-private partnerships to help redevelop and improve this 153-acre property that represents about half of the population of Greenbelt.


The ownership has set aside $15 million for both external and interior renovations, explained Fieldstone Properties Sharon Thames, Executive Director of Business Development and Government Affairs. In addition to updating the 40-year-old apartments, Fieldstone Properties plans to upgrade existing community amenities and add a state-of-the-art fitness center and day care provider.


But with nearly 3,000 apartments on over 150 acres, Franklin Park will need additional funding to achieve its transformational goals, which are shared by state and local government leaders. Fieldstone Properties hopes to obtain approximately $15 million in tax-increment (TIF) financing for a variety of public infrastructure improvements, including a much-needed pedestrian walkway and bridge to the Greenbelt Metro Station. The ownership also is working with Pepco to help finance major improvements in energy efficiency.


The summit is part of Fieldstone Properties’ virtually unprecedented effort to catalyze a rapid transformation of one of the largest apartment communities on the East Coast to provide safe, comfortable, convenient, and affordable workforce housing. As part of that effort, Fieldstone Properties is offering incentives for those who protect and serve, including veterans and displaced veterans, police officers, and firefighters. The ownership recently signed Rental Partnership Agreements with Fort George G. Meade, Fort Myer, and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.


“Unlike so many owners and developers seeking to convert close-in properties to luxury housing, Fieldstone Properties is committed to working closely with the community and government to provide high-quality, affordable housing for people who live, work, and study in this area, including active-duty military and veterans, government employees, and students,” said Debbie Dillon, Executive Vice President, Fieldstone Properties.  “By operating efficiently and buying in volume, we can offer renovated apartments with luxury finishes while keeping rents affordable for those with household incomes starting at $37,000.”


“Since being elected four years ago, one of my visions was to bring economic development to the county, especially near Metro,” said Hon. Ingrid M. Turner, Chair, Prince George’s County Council. “Properties like Franklin Park near Metro stations are jewels that provide the opportunity to bring significant tax revenue to the county and the city of Greenbelt.”


“When Springhill Lake was built over 40 years ago, it was the largest garden apartment community east of the Mississippi,” said Greenbelt Mayor Judith. “J.” Davis. “But over the last 20 years, there was serious decline, and plans to redevelop the area fell apart. When we first met with Fieldstone Properties, we were skeptical, but we now see that they are living up to their goals and expectations, and have become active partners with the city in renovating this valuable asset.”


“The County Executive has always talked about making a good county great,” said Aubrey D. Thagard of the County Executive’s office. “Franklin Park is an important part of that process. We need to marshal all the resources we can to make this a great community again. It’s time we do something to make it even better than it was before.”


Since acquiring the former Empirian Village community last fall, the new ownership already has renovated 85 of the property’s 2,877 rental apartments, and plans to continue renovating apartments at the rate of 80 to 100 per month. Individual apartment upgrades include all-new gourmet kitchens and baths with condominium finishes, refinished hardwood and new ceramic tile floors, designer lighting fixtures, and refurbished balcony railings. Building entries are being upgraded with secure energy-efficient doors and new signage. Fieldstone Properties also has made community-wide security improvements, including call boxes, a dedicated onsite police officer, and security camera enhancements.  Fieldstone Properties also has initiated free weekday shuttle transportation to both the Greenbelt Metro Station and The University of Maryland-College Park. In addition, management has received and completed a backlog of over 10,000 tenant work order requests.


Franklin Park enjoys an ideal location adjacent to the Greenbelt Metro and MARC rail station, the Capital Beltway (I-495), and Kenilworth Avenue. Major nearby employment centers include Fort Meade and Andrews Air Force Base, the University of Maryland, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Security Agency. Franklin Park’s proximity to Metro’s Green Line makes it quickly and easily accessible to Howard University, the Navy Yard, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as the many private and public employers in downtown Washington. Metro’s Green Line also provides direct access to Washington’s most exciting urban dining, shopping, and entertainment destinations, including Columbia Heights, the 14th Street corridor, the Washington Convention Center, and the Penn Quarter, home to the Verizon Center, restaurants, clubs, museums, and a variety of trendy shops. 


Established in 2001, Fieldstone Properties owns and manages over 10,000 rental apartment units in New Jersey, New York, Florida, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This portfolio comprises garden, mid- and high-rise, and townhome communities in both suburban and urban locations. Fieldstone Properties has established a successful track record repositioning under-managed assets.