Tonight the City Council heard from two of College Park’s biggest development players – Mark Vogel and Otis Warren. Vogel presented his preliminary plans for a $60 million, 10-story, 300 room Hilton Hotel between the University’s North Gate and University View. The Hotel would include at least one restaurant looking out on Paint Branch Creek with possibly a second in front of a proposed 500-600 space garage. 30,000 square feet of meeting space would be equaly split among the first two floors, followed by 6 floors of rooms, and two floors for special undecided uses. Vogel said he has spent over 4 years working on the property, including 2-3 years to buy leases from Alario’s Pizza and Jerry’s Sub. He expects to close a deal with Merchant’s Tire soon for their lease.
Citing the tremendous cost he’s incurred so far ($3 million for the ground and $5 million for leases) Vogel insisted that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was essential to the economic feasibility of the project. The hotel would require a 3-way land swap which would take about 1.5 acres from the adjacent and soon to be constructed North Gate Park. He also stated that UMD has signed an agreement whereby if the hotel was built, the University would not construct a competing facility on East Campus or M-Square. Vogel felt he could break ground in 6 months if he got the go ahead and also that the project is a personal “leap of faith”.
Otis Warren presented a Detailed Site Plan fro 8400 Baltimore Ave – just North of University View. The building would be a 12-story (4 parking, 8 residential) condominium tower with 301 units and 14,000 square feet of retail. The Mayor expressed concerns that the project could become rentable apartment units. He noted that the City was hoping the City Hall Condo project would be 100% owner occupied and at Jefferson Square, another major project nearby, the City is hoping to get at least 80% of the units owner occupied.
We should have pictures up of the Condo project shortly.