Gilbane, local officials hold groundbreaking ceremony for Riverfront at West Hyattsville

Local officials and executives from Gilbane Development Company held a groundbreaking ceremony July 18 for the Riverfront at West Hyattsville project. Photo by Allan Walters

BY ALLAN WALTERS — Dodging the threat of thunderstorms and enduring an unusually muggy afternoon, a group of local community leaders and executives from the Gilbane Development Company met in West Hyattsville on July 18 to formally kick off the construction of The Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro — a new mixed-use condominium and townhouse development adjacent to the West Hyattsville Metro Station.

From a podium set up in front of the abandoned Ginn’s Warehouse adorned with recently completed graffiti murals, Stuart Eisenberg of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) kicked off the event with a speech remarking on the history of the site and stating that the new development “will be a departure from a previous pattern of land use in the area — from bleak industrial to public transit oriented.”

According to Eisenberg, the murals were a collaboration with the Double Down Kings and the Hyattsville CDC. All 37 of them were completed over a span of two days by artists from the local area, neighboring states and from as far away as Belarus, from where one artist had recently arrived to get married.

Mayor Candace Hollingsworth thanked everyone in attendance, noting that the Riverfront project “took the work of many.” She described Hyattsville as “entrepreneurial, connected, persistent and resilient, creative and a little bit funky,” and said, “this project embodies all of these elements and will unleash an invitation to join in the promise of West Hyattsville.”

Bobby Gilbane Jr. of Gilbane Development Company noted that the “project belonged to everyone here” and said that Gilbane “wanted a shared community vision and this project is what the area wants.” He also remarked that a four-acre park was “one of the most important parts of the development” and that it would be able to be enjoyed by the community at large.

Ed Broderick, president of Gilbane Development, closed out the remarks by thanking all of the local officials and commenting on the “real sense of community that we were able to tie the project into.”

Upon completion of the speeches, attendees were invited to create their own “tags” on the building and participate in a ceremonial “hammering“ of the site. Mayor Hollingsworth was the most active “tagger,” painting “I Am” under a large Hyattsville mural and “#HVL” at the base of the warehouse.

Demolition of the old Ginn’s Warehouse has begun. Townhouse sales are anticipated to begin by the end of this year.