(View FULL STORY online on The Washington Post ReadExpress.com)
Though the words Prince Georges County and art arent always uttered in the same breath, this community may soon be able to rightfully call itself a cultural center. Thats because of the Gateway Arts District, which extends along Route 1′s two miles, and through North Brentwood, Brentwood and Mount Rainier. Arts District developers hope to foster a lively space for local artists by encouraging new construction and renovation of homes and businesses. The largest residential development project on Hyattsvilles portion of the Gateway Arts District is the 25-acre Arts District Hyattsville, led by Bethesda-based EYA. The development company plans to build more than 500 new homes with a combo of rowhouses, live-work houses and condos. The first phase of construction (on the west side of Route 1), contains 119 rowhouses and 13 live-work units and will be completed by 2008 or early 2009; 25 to 30 families have already moved into finished homes. The second phase, which will contain approximately 200 rowhouses and 200 condo lofts on 18 acres east of Route 1, breaks ground this month. Though its still evolving, Arts District Hyattsville is definitely breathing new life into our commercial areas, says Stuart Eisenberg, the executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation. A 16-year resident, Eisenberg believes that the new developments will uphold Hyattsvilles character as a welcoming community and a refuge from Washingtons frenzied pace. The folks who come here are not quite as wrapped up in the rat race of the D.C. political scene, but they like to nibble on the cheese a little bit, he says.