Old BB&T Building to Get New Windows

Approval of window project saves $200,000 in grant funds which otherwise would have been withdrawn.

Though there may not be any tenants inside to appreciate the view, the former BB&T building on 3305 Hamilton Street will be getting a new set of windows. 

Last week, the Hyattsville City Council approved a measure authorizing city officials to spend up to $200,000 to install new windows on the building. 

The project is funded entirely from a grant from the Maryland Board of Public Works for municipal infrastructure upgrades at the building. 

According to Jim Chandler, director of Hyattsville's Department of Community and Economic Development, the city has had the money on hand for the project for almost two years. But without an agreed upon future for the building, the money sat while city officials looked into how it could be used. 

"The issue is, there is no definitive on what we are doing with the building," said Chandler in an interview during last week's city council meeting. "The only thing you can do that doesn't affect the programming in the building is the windows."

In the time it took city officials to settle on a use for the money, Hyattsville was brushing up against a June 1, 2012 deadline to spend the money. 

"We have to pass this tonight, or we will lose the money," said Mayor Marc Tartaro during discussion of the project. 

Chandler said that among the other options considered for the building were renovations of the restrooms, but that idea was discarded because future uses for the building could require that the restrooms be moved.

Long term proposals floated before council have called for the building to be turned into a new headquarters for city police. 

Councilor Paula Perry (Ward 4), who opposes plans to renovate the building for city purposes, said she was in favor of adding windows to the BB&T building.

"Do I think we should carry on and do a lot more repairs?" Asked Perry, rhetorically. "I am not in favor of the city spending that kind of money on that building, but I am in for the windows being replaced, because it is a necessity."

Paul Nigh May 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM
As a long time city resident I am outraged that the city aquired this building. That said I vote they demolish the building and plant grass. City council, remember this most residents hate you.
FRANCINE ABELL (ROCKELLI) May 31, 2012 at 11:08 AM
OMG! This bunch has been sitting too close to Congress! Money earmarked (rediculously) for a building that has sat, seemingly forever, vacant. I've been a County resident for 60 (another OMG) years; living many, many in Hyattsville. What a dilemma for the Council! Money earmarked for a specific vacant building needs to be used or loosed (sic). Let it rescind itself and hopefully reappear for better use. There are plenty of vacant, seemingly abandoned, homes that have BOARDS in place of windows sitting around here. They could be made real estate that is desireable. (Fill 'em with tax paying citizens, does that pique an ear?) I love the comment about future use may not require upgrades to bathrooms that could be removed? Now what tennant could possibly want that? And then it dawned on me. Make this building a horse barn for U.S. park use! Can you imagine the amount of rent that could be collected from that bunch on the hill? The architectual window openings could easilty be cut wider to accommodate horses. But then again, it appears from Council mullings that they could use the stalls themselves...being a different member of the equidae family.
John Astron May 31, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Hey Francine, read the article closely before you start screaming. The comment was that the bathrooms may have to be MOVED, not "removed." And that makes sense, depending what or whom, eventually moves in. That building is old, and the bathrooms, elevator doors, etc., are probably not in compliance with ADA standards, which may necessitate the ultimate "moving," "remodeling" or "resizing" of those facilities. As far as it sitting vacant for so long, I agree with you that something should be done with the place, but tearing it down and planting grass would have been a complete waste of the money they spent to purchase it. The idea of moving the police department down is actually a good use of the space. The city hall building was erected in 1990, back when the department had about 25 officers. They are almost twice that size now, and from what I've heard, they are all "on top of each other" in their current digs. Renovating the old BB&T building as a police headquarters would not only give the PD some much needed breathing room, but it would allow the city hall to move some of its operations down to the 2nd floor where the police are stationed now. (The city officers are also hurting for room.) Not to mention that as a public safety facilty, the city may qualify for some Homeland Security funding to help renovate the old bank, and make it a top notch police station.
Mark G May 31, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Agree with John Astron's comments. Actually if the building becomes the new police headquarters, the decision to purchase the building may turn out to be an extremely wise one for the city. Certainly there is an argument to be made that the purchase was not in the best interests of the city but given the price and the size and quality of the building, I thnk Hyattsville did alright. Whe I see what happened to the Safeway building (nothing against Bestway but it is a far cry from the Trader Joe's-type of establishment that many locals wanted) I could easily see the BB&T building becoming home to a collection of nail shops, check cashing establishments and dollar stores; the type of businesses that we already have in abundance on the West end of town. A much more likely fate for the building (yes, I remember back when it was a Savings and Loan -quaint as that now sounds) than the above proposals to demolish or turn into a horse barn, neither of which seemslike a particularly serious idea..


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