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Multiple Pedestrian Fatalities Finally Spur Action on Rt. 1

Walk Smart College Park (via UMD Police)

It’s been a deadly year for pedestrians crossing Route 1 in College Park.  The tally from the first half of 2014 was grim: five persons struck and three deaths.  As the casualties mount, there is growing concern about the dangers that Route 1 poses to pedestrians, particularly the stretch by the University of Maryland campus, between Guilford Rd & Berwyn Rd.  The situation finally became grave enough to produce action, with a number of measures already implemented along Route 1 since July to improve pedestrian safety, and additional enhancements planned shortly after the start of the UMD Fall semester.

One of the most common misunderstandings around town is figuring out who is actually responsible for pedestrian safety on Route 1.  UMD students, who are most familiar with the dangers along this stretch of road, have demanded safety improvements from College Park officials.  But the mayor of College Park is not responsible for Route 1 safety, nor is the City Council, UMD administrators, or even Prince George’s county.  Because it is a state highway, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is ultimately responsible for the situation on Route 1.  In fact, pleas for Route 1 pedestrian safety improvements from the from the City Council have gotten little response over the years, until the situation grew dire enough this year to spur the SHA into action.

To be sure, the ingredients for multiple pedestrian fatalities on Route 1 have been in place for a long time.  In the last eight years, over 3400 beds have been added to the west side of Route 1 in College Park in the form of four large apartment complexes.  Meanwhile, more rental houses in the Old Town and Calvert Hills neighborhoods have attracted growing numbers of UMD students, increasing their footprint in these areas.  Though a number of enhancements have made streets on the UMD campus friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists, Route 1 has retained the same dangerous features of a state highway over the years: wide lanes, fast cars, heavy traffic and few visual warnings to drivers that they are entering a campus zone with a high number of pedestrians.

The situation can become chaotic at night, as hundreds of UMD students are crossing from campus to the East side of Route 1 to get to bars and other attractions.  At times, crowds of students gathering in front of local establishments can grow too large for sidewalks, forcing people into Route 1 traffic.  Along with poor visibility, the risks of intoxication from both pedestrians and drivers goes up during nighttime hours, which is also when speed cameras have been turned off in the past.  In short, the potential for risky behavior and bad decisions and skyrockets at night, which is when all of the Route 1 pedestrian fatalities so far in 2014 have occurred.  As UMD President Loh noted: “There are actually people standing not on the sidewalk but on the road, and cars are zipping by. My major conclusion was: I am surprised more people have not been hit.”

Most of the measures outlined by the SHA, UMD and City Council to address pedestrian safety issues were implemented in the July-August time frame, with the remaining enhancements to be completed during the Fall semester.  Lowering the Route 1 speed limit from 30 to 25 mph near the UMD campus and changing the speed cameras in this zone to operate 24/7 are two small steps that could help calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety.  A new pedestrian safety campaign (Walk Smart College Park) and an increased presence by the UMD Police on Route 1 during nighttime hours on weekends could also make a difference.   The planned overhead pedestrian signal at Route 1 & Hartwick Rd intersection, similar to signals on Route 1 near Fraternity Row and on Paint Branch Parkway, could eventually give pedestrians another important option for crossing Route 1 along its most dangerous stretch.

The most controversial enhancement is definitely the fence along the Route 1 median between Knox Rd & Hartwick Rd to help deter jaywalking.  The median fence is intended to be temporary and hopefully that will be the case.  Critics of the fence rightly point out its unsightliness and the risk that it may actually be counterproductive to pedestrian safety if drivers perceive Route 1 as being a divided highway, though it will only be in place for one block.  Unfortunately, the situation had deteriorated to the point where status quo on Route 1 was unacceptable, and questionable measures like the median fence could no longer be avoided.

There is a long term solution that would likely go much further than the steps taken this summer towards improving pedestrian safety in our city.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose sight of that solution, because the reconstruction of Route 1 in College Park has been in the works by SHA since 1998.  At least sufficient funding was in place to start the design of the first phase of the reconstruction near the UMD campus back in Feb. 2012 and hopefully the design work will be complete by next year, as planned earlier.  Basic features of the reconstruction include transforming Route 1 from a five-lane to a four-lane highway, with wider medians,  improved sidewalks, and even bike lanes.  Though all of these improvements sound exciting, at this point, it’s impossible to even predict a start date for Route 1 reconstruction.  Now would be a good time to get an update from to SHA and find out: (a) when the design work will be complete, and (b) a projected timeline for the first phase of Route 1 reconstruction.

 In any event, the number of pedestrians will only be increasing on Route 1.  A quick read through the latest College Park Development Update shows that in the not too distant future, a 4-star UMD Conference Hotel, as well as two more large apartment complexes (Landmark College Park, Terrapin Row) are scheduled to open near the most dangerous stretch of our “main street”.  College Park can’t realize its vision of becoming a Top 20 college town with a poor reputation for pedestrian safety.  The first steps have been taken, but this will likely be an ongoing challenge. Officials from the SHA, UMD, College Park and Pr. George’s County must continue monitoring the situation and work together to improve pedestrian safety on Route 1.

Development: Encourage, Not Impede

GUEST POST Matthew Popkin is a graduate student in the School of Public Policy and is running for City Council in District 3. He can be reached at popkinforcitycouncil@gmail.com.

Driving down Route 1, it becomes obvious that College Park lacks amenities and quality development. For years, developments have been opposed or poorly integrated into the city. As a result, while the University of Maryland has been an attraction and destination, our downtown has paled in comparison. I’m running for city council because with the right collaboration between the city and the University, along with proactive efforts to welcome well-planned development, College Park can become one of the most desirable college towns in the country.

Look at the Knox Boxes. For decades, these units have been an overpriced eyesore. There is now a serious proposal to revitalize the complex. “Knox Village” should provide undergraduate and graduate housing as well as a high quality restaurant, retail, and an outdoor gathering space that is much needed. Ensuring that this happens in a timely fashion is critical.

On the contrary, we have made no progress on the abandoned Sigma Chi fraternity house on Norwich Road. Despite the owners’ serious intentions to redevelop it, the City Council has rejected multiple ideas, leaving a boarded up, broken into, deteriorating structure for over fifteen years. This is unacceptable. In my first month on the council, I will invite the owners, neighbors, and city staff to discuss our options. We will bring our ideas to the civic associations and City Council for review and work to make this house more than just a neglected eyesore.

Downtown College Park should have a grocery store that we can access without getting in a car or on a bus. For someone who doesn’t have a car, getting food is a frustration that takes money and time. The US Department of Agriculture agrees, having declared much of College Park a “food desert” — a dense, relatively low income community over a mile from a grocery store. A grocery store would reduce traffic along Route 1 and provide access to healthy food.

Last spring, I created a pilot bus service that went directly from student apartment complexes to the Beltway Plaza Giant to address the problem. This program would be unnecessary if the city would work with the grocery stores that have already expressed interest in building a location here in the city.

Ultimately, we need to create a town center that fosters a sense of community. Silver Spring and Hyattsville went through this transformation with much success, but College Park lags behind by not having a movie theater or classy dining options. We need to bring together the owners of property along Route 1 from College Ave. to Guildford Road to work with the City and University with regard to amenities and aesthetics and survey the community to convey what College Park desires. Many opportunities are on the horizon so long as the process and governance does not hinder aspirations. With such a town center, we will be able to showcase College Park – to prospective students, families, faculty, and our Big Ten peers.

Overall, we need to alleviate traffic, incentivize development, improve safety, and better connect the region by welcoming the Purple Line and Capital Bikeshare. We need to facilitate, not impede, those who want to work to build a better College Park.

 All of this infrastructure will take time to implement and build, but we need to start now. Long-term improvements to the community will be well worth it and enhance the charm and character of the city. Within a few years, Downtown College Park could rival Rockville Town Center, Downtown Silver Spring, and Hyattsville, but we have to be welcoming and proactive to transform College Park into that great college town.

 

Announcing College Park’s Inaugural Restaurant Week: August 11th to 17th

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark your calendars for the tastiest week of the year, as College Park Restaurant Week kicks off on Sunday, August 11th and runs through Saturday, August 17th. Over 15 of the City’s restaurants are participating in the event with specials including a variety of multi-course meals and other discounts. The list of participating restaurants and their specials is posted on the City’s Shop College Park website at www.shopcollegepark.org/cprw.

For patrons choosing restaurants in Downtown, the City is offering free parking in the garage at the intersection of Knox Road and Yale Avenue after 5:00pm on Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Energy Efficiency Workshop July 24th

The Committee for a Better Environment is sponsoring a workshop on energy efficiency on July 24th at 7pm at the City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 4500 Knox Road, College Park

Does your home have rooms that are always hot in the summer and cold in the winter? Do you have high energy bills? Come to this presentation and find out how  Groundswell (www.groundswell.org), a local nonprofit, can help you get an energy audit for only $100 and complete weatherization work on your home for over 70 percent off!

Rachel Binstock will present information about Groundswell’s energy-efficiency program called Strong Homes. In this program, homeowners join groups to pool purchasing power and to negotiate discounts on weatherization work from contractors. All contractors are local businesses, certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI),and chosen based on competitive prices for weatherization work as well as the social benefits they afford employees.

Groundswell simplifies the process by helping homeowners every step of the way and also helps homeowners take advantage of state and federal rebates towards home-energy improvements. It is also offering an additional $300 rebate for weatherization work performed by August 23.

Come learn about how you can make your home safer and more comfortable, save money on your energy bills each month, and support local businesses all while reducing the environmental footprint of your home!

Farmers Markets Proliferate in College Park

CP-DowntownFarmersMarket

 

 

For over three decades, when someone mentioned the “College Park Farmers Market”, it could only mean one thing: the one held on Saturday mornings by Wells Ice Rink on Paint Branch Parkway.  This market was one of the first of its kind in Maryland when it was established back in 1979, and eventually saw its customer traffic increase more than tenfold over the years.  The situation started changing in 2010, when the University of Maryland started hosting its own farmers market on a trial basis.  The UMD Farmers Market officially opened in May 2012 and is now held on Wed. afternoons in front of the Cole Fieldhouse.  In the meantime, the Downtown College Park Farmers Market opened in June 2011 and is now hosted on Sunday mornings by City Hall.  Things haven’t slowed down this year, as the Hollywood Farmers Market made its debut last month and is held at the Hollywood Shopping Center in North College Park on Saturday mornings.

Considering our diverse neighborhoods and population groups, it should come as no surprise that College Park would finally outgrow a “one size fits all” approach to farmers markets.  Though the venerable market on Paint Branch has thrived for over 30 years, it’s far enough from the UMD campus that few students or staff were aware it existed.  The fact that markets by Cole Fieldhouse and City Hall emerged roughly a year apart indicates a growing demand for local foods from the UMD community and surrounding neighborhoods.  Access to fresh foods serves an important need for UMD students, given the notorious lack of a grocery store within walking distance of campus.

But the launch of the Hollywood Farmers Market last month demonstrates a commitment to the local foods movement that goes beyond the UMD community.  With the highest concentration of single family homes in the city, and a remote location relative to the other three markets, North College Park moved rapidly to realize its vision of a new farmers market.  In response to a survey last year, residents showed strong support for a market located within the neighborhood.  Working with councilmembers Kabir & Wojahn, a group of residents created a market committee, formed a 501c3 non-profit organization, contacted vendors and organized the new market in less than a year.  The new market offers North College Park residents a walkable location and an important opportunity to revitalize the Hollywood Commercial District.

As farmers markets multiply in our neighborhoods, it’s natural to wonder if we’ve reached a saturation point, or if brand new markets will be launched in the coming years.  Few would’ve predicted we’d have four independent farmers markets in operation just five years ago, but College Park has done that and established itself as a leader in sustainable living.  Though these markets offer valuable opportunities to purchase fresh food and support local farmers, their benefits go beyond culinary delights.  As others have pointed out, our farmers markets provide an ongoing event in a shared space, where residents can meet each other and gather to discuss local issues.  Indeed, farmers markets can offer our neighborhoods that elusive third place, where strangers can become neighbors and come together to build their communities.  If College Park is to realize its potential, we need more third places.  Our farmers markets can deliver that experience year after year, which is something we can all celebrate.  

News & Notes: April 2013 Edition

GarbanzoCP

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park.

General Announcements:

Downtown College Park Farmers Market

The 2013 season opened on April 14th with a new market master and an expanded roster of vendors. The market now features producer-only fruits and vegetables, including organic options. New vendors include a bakery, a meat purveyor, and an orchard. For more information on the market please visit its page on Shop College Park. Free parking available on Sundays!

Commercial Tenant Improvement Program

The City is offering up to $25,000 in grant funds for leasehold improvements of commercial retail spaces for new or expanding businesses. The reimbursement grant will cover up to 50% of the total improvement costs for qualifying businesses. The program targets locally-owned and independent operators. Use the following links to get information and an application for this program.

Business Sign Assistance Fund

College Park operates a signage grant program which assists businesses with the costs needed to install storefront signs. The program offers up to $2,500 in matching funds for design, production, and installation. While FY 2013 funds are nearly gone, a new set of funding will be available beginning July 1st.  Program guidelines and an application are available.

 

April 2013 Business Activity

Now Open:

The Maryland Smokehouse

Opened this month at the former location of Austin Grill Express on the ground floor of The Varsity apartments.  Offers upscale casual dining that reaches south to offer delicious Memphis-style barbeque. Menu items include ribs, beef brisket, southern sides, unique cocktails and desserts. All served with warm hospitality in a vibrant, bluesy atomosphere.

The opening was covered in this Diamondback article.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

Opened in March, at the former location of Boston Market in the College Park Shopping Center.  Chain restaurant, started in the Denver area in 2007. Offers patrons the opportunity to build their own entrees. Pitas are made from scratch and baked on site throughout the day. Salads and sauces are made from fresh, whole vegetables and prepared each morning

Covered in this Diamondback article.

– One Stop Shop

Convenience store on College Ave, just east of Rt. 1.

Business Closings:

– YoLove Frozen Yogurt

Located on the ground floor of the Varsity apartments.  The closing was covered in this Diamondback article.

– Sears Optical

Located at the Village at College Park Shopping Center by Route 1 & I-495, next to IKEA.

Coming Attractions:

Downtown:

7-11

Expected to open in Fall 2013, by Route 1 & Guilford Rd.

– Jumbo Slice Pizza

Expected opening in summer 2013 on Route 1 & Lehigh, next to the Barking Dog. A DC late night classic, Jumbo Slice Pizza offers oversized pizza and a few other menu items at their Adams Morgan location. Photos and information can be found at their Foursquare page.

Slices Pizza Co.

Expected to open in Spring 2013, going into Terrapin Station.

Offers gourmet pizza by the slice. College Park is their 2nd location; original is in Greensboro, NC. Built around a simple combination: create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere, maintain the highest operating standards, and serve great pizza. Their dough is hand-rolled daily and they offer over a dozen types of pizza at any one time.

– Terrapin Turf

Going into the former Santa Fe Café space on Knox Road, expected to open Summer 2013. The latest update is in this Diamondback article.

Verizon Wireless

Phone service retailer already has one location by IKEA in North College Park, scheduled to open another in Fall 2013, at the corner of Route 1 & Guilford Ave.

Lower Midtown:

Denny’s

Expected to open late in 2013, located on Rt. 1 in former Varsity Grille building. Covered by Patch.

– Newaabsaab Kabobs

Mediterranean restaurant, expected to open in summer 2013. Sharing the same location as Rita’s Italian Ice (8900 Baltimore Ave)

State Employee Credit Union (SECU)

MD Credit Union branch location scheduled to open in summer 2013, on the ground floor of the View II apartments.

West Campus:

At least four businesses on the ground floor of the Domain at College Park are scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, around the time the new apartment complex (near Campus Drive & Mowatt Lane) opens. More information about the Domain property can be found here.

Casey’s Coffee

Casey’s Coffee is opening a new location providing customers with coffee, specialty drinks, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, lunch, and other menu items. The College Park location will join their other coffee shops located in downtown DC, Baltimore, Ellicott City, and Columbia.

– Gateway Newstand (Convenience store)

Subway

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt

Berwyn:

– Independent Coffee Shop (to be named later):

Expected to open late in 2013.  Located on Berwyn Rd, next door to Fishnet. To be operated by Fishnet owner; covered by Patch.

Upper Midtown:

IYoggie:

New frozen yogurt shop, located near the Shopper’s Food in the College Park Marketplace Shopping Center on Cherry Hill Road by Rt. 1.  Expected to open in summer 2013.

– Jamaican Gee’s:

Quick service restaurant, expected to open in summer 2013.  Located by Proteus Bikes, on Rt. 1 between Delaware & Erie.

Uptown:

Two well known businesses have signed leases in the Village at College Park Shopping Center, located at Route 1 & I-495 (next to IKEA) and are expected to open in Summer 2013.

Dunkin Donuts

Mr. Smoothie

News & Notes: March 2013 Edition

slicesPizzaCP


 

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park

General Announcements:

Real Estate Roundtable – March 19, 2013

The City is hosting their 2013 Real Estate Roundtable on Tuesday, March 19th from 8:30am to 10:30am at the Hampton Inn College Park, which is located at 9670 Baltimore Avenue. The event, which is free of charge, provides an opportunity for local stakeholders to receive updates on major developments and to discuss future plans that will shape College Park for years to come.  This year’s featured discussion will center around three recently completed market studies concerning College Park: College Park Metro Station TOD Market Analysis, Route One Communities Retail Market Study, and the University of Maryland Faculty/Staff Housing Market Analysis. A panel discussion will be held with representatives from each firm: Christine Graziano of AECOM, Eric Smart of Bolan Smart Associates Inc., and Linda Anderson of Anderson Strickler LLC.

To RSVP, please contact Michael Stiefvater at 240-487-3543 or mstiefvater at collegeparkmd.gov by March 8th.

City Launches Commercial Tenant Improvement Program

The City is offering up to $25,000 in grant funds for leasehold improvements of commercial retail spaces for new or expanding businesses. The reimbursement grant will cover up to 50% of the total improvement costs for qualifying businesses. The program will target locally-owned and independent businesses that fill a void in the College Park’s retail environment such as an apparel store, coffee shop, full service restaurant, and health club. Use the following links to get information and an application for this program.

Relaunch of Shop College Park Website

Launched in July 2008, the Shop College Park website provides an online presence for all of the City’s retail businesses. To improve the site’s functionality, the City authorized a redesign that launched in January 2013. Improvements include a new visual design, a mobile version, an improved search function, and a blog.

 College Park Neighborhood Business Discount Cards

Formed in an effort to bring local independent businesses together, CPNBA aims to promote College Park businesses and maintain a strong, local economy. To encourage patronage of these local independent businesses, CPNBA has recently released a free discount card.  The cards allow patrons to access deals at a variety of businesses, which are viewable online.  Currently there are 19 participating businesses and the cards are available at participating businesses or City Hall.

February 2013 Business Activity

Now Open:

Ovo Simply Veggie (Rt. 1 & Hartwick Rd, Terrapin Station)
Ovo Simply Veggie is a quick service restaurant focusing on innovative vegetarian dishes with an Asian influence. Ovo Simply Veggie hopes to showcase the varying possibilities for healthy food beyond salad including unique desserts.  Featured in this Diamondback article.

Eddie’s Cafe  (Rhode Island & Edgewood, Hollywood Shopping Center)
Eddie’s Cafe is now open in the Hollywood Shopping Center and offers a wide variety of Chinese and American dishes. The dishes, ranging from Szechuan beef to cheeseburgers, are all priced under $10 at this locally-owned restaurant.


Business Closings:

A2Z Wireless (Rt. 1 & Knox Rd)

Capital One Bank (Rt. 1 & Cherry Hill, close to Shoppers Warehouse)

Continue reading News & Notes: March 2013 Edition

CSX Crossing Issues Threaten Cafritz Project

CSX-Crossing

 

 

 

 

 

If anyone thought the Cafritz Project was a done deal, events over the course of less than one week have been enough to shake that belief.  Headlines taken from the Riverdale Patch show how quickly the narrative can change:

Jan 11: Cafritz Not a Done Deal, Riverdale Park Council Says

Jan 15: Planning Staff Recommends Disapproval of Cafritz Preliminary Plan

Jan 15: Cafritz Team Withdraws Preliminary Plan

All the controversy and hearings over Cafritz last year were to approve a rezoning plan that would allow the 37 acre property to be changed from single family detached residential to mixed use town center.  After the Prince George’s District Council approved the Cafritz rezoning plan last July, there were two other major steps requiring county approval before construction could begin on a Whole Foods, luxury hotel and nearly 1000 housing units: (1) Preliminary Plan of Subdivision, and (2) Detailed Site Plan.

The Preliminary Plan of Subdivision (PPS) was originally scheduled for review by the County Planning Board on Jan. 17th.  However, the Riverdale Park Town Council found issues with the proposed path of the hiker-biker trail and the crossing over CSX rail lines.  County Planning Board staff also found the proposal failed to meet several conditions required for passage and recommended disapproval of the PPS.  Shortly afterwards, the Cafritz development team decided to temporarily withdraw its proposal.

Of all the concerns raised with the Cafritz PPS, issues with the proposed CSX crossing are the most problematic.  Opponents have long argued that a project of this scale would only exacerbate traffic woes on Route 1.  Smart growth measures such as a hiker/biker trail extension and shuttles to College Park & Prince George’s Plaza Metro stations helped alleviate some concerns, but the CSX crossing was a key component to address Route 1 issues head on and win over many Cafritz skeptics, since it provided another path for future traffic.  The funding and timing of a CSX crossing was one of the final issues resolved last year before the rezoning plan was approved by University Park and Riverdale Park.  The CSX crossing is also featured prominently in the long list of conditions that were agreed upon before final approval of the Cafritz rezoning.

Last month, the mood was more optimistic, as the Cafritz development team shared an early version of the PPS with the Riverdale Town Council. The PPS specified that the CSX crossing would be an elevated bridge placed at a location involving the use of property belonging to the American Center for Physics (ACP).  At the time, the Cafritz team mentioned that ACP approval could be a potential stumbling block, but remained confident.  However, it turned out ACP wasn’t on board with this vision and eventually opted to launch its own investigation of the potential impacts of the CSX crossing.  No decision from ACP is forthcoming until its independent analysis is complete, which is predicted to take at least several months.  Further, ACP sent out a strongly worded letter about the CSX crossing to officials in Riverdale Park, University Park and College Park that included the following passage:

“The ACP Board is angry that a letter was provided at the Monday, January 14th, meeting of the University Park Town Council, which erroneously appeared to present ACP’s support for having a roadway across our property. That letter was never reviewed or authorized by the ACP Board.”

Shortly afterwards, the Cafritz development team decided to withdraw the PPS from consideration.  

This turn of events leaves Cafritz developers scrambling to satisfy the conditions of the rezoning approval while also meeting its own development goals, which called for construction to start by January 2014 and the opening of a Whole Foods Market a year later.  Though the Cafritz team has until the end of January to submit the PPS to the county, it may take months before they reapply.  If Cafritz developers can eventually reach an agreement with ACP or find a viable alternative location for the CSX crossing, their path towards groundbreaking becomes much clearer.  If not, the lack of a CSX crossing threatens to send the massive project back to square one.

News & Notes: December 2012 Edition

ivyNoodlesCP

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park

General Announcements:

City Receives $75,000 for Launch of Commercial Tenant Improvement Program

In November, the City of College Park was awarded $75,000 by the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development for the formation of a Commercial Tenant Improvement Program. The program will provide new small businesses with a matching grant for the costs associated with leasehold improvements (HVAC, mechanical, electrical, windows, etc.). A maximum of $25,000 per grant is available to qualifying businesses, which will undergo a review of their business plan and financial capabilities. Any interested businesses, property owners, or brokers should contact the College Park Economic Development office for more information.  More details about the improvement program were provided in this article by the North College Park Informant.

Relaunch of Shop College Park Website

Launched in July 2008, the Shop College Park website provides an online presence for all of the City’s retail businesses. To improve the site’s functionality, the City authorized a redesign that is expected to launch in January 2013. Improvements include a new visual design, a mobile version, an improved search function, and a blog.

 

December 2012 Business Activity

Now Open:

Ivy Noodles (Rt. 1 & Hartwick Rd, Terrapin Station)
Locally-owned restaurant now open in the Terrapin Station shopping center in Downtown College Park. The authentic noodle house serves a variety of dishes, including seven different types of noodles, with all dishes priced under $9.

Business Closings:

Boston Market (Rt. 1 & Knox Rd, College Park Shopping Center)

Robeks (Rt. 1, north of 495 interchange, close to IKEA)

Coming Attractions:

Downtown:

– Ovo Asian
Expected to open late 2012 in Terrapin Station.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
Expected to open early 2013, former location of Boston Market in the College Park Shopping Center.  Chain restaurant, started in the Denver area in 2007. From their inception, the company’s goal has been to focus on fresh, healthy, quality foods using original, unique recipes.

– Unnamed Italian Restaurant (to be named later)
Going into Terrapin Station, expected to open spring 2013.

– Terrapin Turf
Going into the former Santa Fe Café space on Knox Road, now expected to open Spring 2013.  The oft-delayed opening was discussed in this Diamondback editorial.

Lower Midtown:

Memphis Barbecue:
Going into the former location of Austin Grill Express.  With its original location in Crystal City, Memphis Barbeque plans to open a second location on the ground floor of The Varsity apartments in spring 2013.  Meats will be smoked over a live hickory wood-burning fire and menu items include ribs, brisket, chicken, and seafood.

– Newaabsaab Kabobs:
Mediterranean restaurant, now expected to open spring 2013. Sharing the same location as Rita’s Italian Ice (8900 Baltimore Ave)

Denny’s
Expected to open summer 2013, located on Rt. 1 in former Varsity Grille building.  Covered by Patch.

Berwyn:

– Independent Coffee Shop (to be named later):
Expected to open summer 2013.  Located on Berwyn Rd, next door to Fishnet. To be operated by Fishnet owner.  Covered by Patch.

Hollywood:

– Johnny’s:
Chinese restaurant is now expected to open early 2013, in the Hollywood Shopping Center (by MOM’s & REI).

– Pollo a La Brasa:
Peruvian restaurant is now expected to open spring 2013, going into Hollywood Square (9925 Rhode Island Ave).